The core of this project comprised the production and processing of interactive 360° videos. The challenges involved included recording, stitching and interactions within 360° videos. First, we did research 360° videos, possible applications and interaction concepts. The goal was to immerse the user into the 360° world by using a Head-Mounted Display (Oculus Rift DK2) and high-resolution 4K video footage from GoPro cameras. Through cooperation with the Duisburger Zoo, one of the most visited zoological gardens in Germany with approximately one million visitors per year, we had the chance to record 360° videos from different perspectives in diverse animal enclosures. The user can operate multiple control elements placed in the virtual world to change perspectives, watch 2D documentaries with the zookeepers or open information boxes about the animals. The Duisburger Zoo was delighted about the result and featured our app on their website.
Besides the zoo application, we explored how journalism could be immersively experienced by the user. We recorded an ice hockey game between two rival german teams, so the user could experience the game and atmosphere first hand. In addition, the user could watch a 2D documentary about the ice hockey training and get information about his favorite players. This project was presented and well received at an in-house exhibition with 250 participants. The immersive journalism part of the project was conducted in cooperation with the Rheinische Post, a newspaper which gets read by 22.4% of the german population in its distribution area. We presented our work to the CEOs of the Rheinische Post, who were amazed by our results, opening the door to further projects.