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360 Video Experiments - Student Immersion


360 Video capture of Teaching Activity

As technology advances and costs decrease, 360 degree video is now accessible and throws up some interesting possibilities within the context of health care education.

Aaron Fecowycz, a Learning Technologist within the Health E-Learning and Media (HELM) Team The University of Nottingham, has been experimenting with 360 video capture. Exploring capture, post-production and the provision of the footage to learners hoping to gain a good understanding of how it may be used to enhance the learning experience through immersion.

First Steps: JISC Connect More Event- Nottingham - July 2016

This event provided hands on access to various 360 viewers, accessories as well as the HTC VIVE Virtual Reality Headset.

JISC Connect More Event July 2016

JISC Connect More - July 2016

Having the opportunity to experience some fantastic pieces of equipment and speak to many enthusiastic colleagues from JISC and the University of Nottingham encouraged the use of 360 video within the School of Health Sciences.

Hands on with a 360 Camera

Rioch Theta S

Ricoh Theta S

Having access to a 360 camera has allowed for exploration and experimentation in capture, post production and publication of 360 video and imagery. There are many similarities with traditional video techniques but some very significant differences!

First experiment with the Ricoh Theta S

360 Interactive Image

A small experiment was to use the camera as a method of updating the rest of the HELM team about my current activities and as the weather was fantastic the Millennium Garden became the setting.

Putting the Learner into the Heart of the Video

Capturing 360 video footage is only one part of the equation. Allowing the learner to become immersed in the experience brings the content to life.

Google Cardboard

Google Cardboard application and Free Google Cardboard Viewer for inexpensive viewing experience

Google cardboard offers low investment entry to accessing 360 video and other interactive content through smart phones. The Google Cardboard app (iOS and Android) is a free app and when paired with a viewer (The Cardboard viewer here was a free giveaway) allows the user to access a wealth of 360 content as well as generate their own via the cardboard camera app which allows the creation of 360 images with small audio recordings.

360 Video For Small Group Teaching Capture

Working with an academic colleague, Stathis Konstantinidis is allowing the trial of the use of 360 video capture of small group teaching activities. This 360 video capture will be offered to the students along with the more traditional Echo 360 Lecture Capture and an evaluation undertaken.

360 Capture of a Small Group Teaching Activity


This early experimentation work has highlighted several considerations in which this type of capture deviates from traditional video capture

  • Low video quality: The Theta S device we have been using captures video at full HD (1920 X 1080) but this contains the full 360 degree view. There are 4k options which are available and should improve this.
  • Low quality audio quality and the consideration of 3D audio capture: further research and experimentation around the sound component of the capture is essential to add to the immersive experience of the captured experience.
  • With 360 video everything is "in shot": traditionally the scene could be framed and this control is somewhat lost. Recording equipment, lighting and crew all need to be carefully considered. An example is the type of tripod used, initially a traditional video tripod was used but this is very evident in footage so this was switched with a lightweight and unobtrusive light stand.
  • Camera Positioning: positioning of the camera is crutial, placing the camera in the centre of a scene which is unfolding all around will absolutely take advantage of this type of capture. £60 capture is not going to be right for every situation.
  • Post-production work: 360 video capture can have an impact upon the post-production workload and as the workflows mature along with the software environments this will hopefully improve.

360 Camera Position - Early thoughts

360 Camera Positioning Early Thoughts

Where Next?

These early experiments with 360 video capture and then providing this to students has been very interesting and through evaluation will better inform about its future use. Viewing 360 footage within a VR viewer is incredibly immersive and it will be interesting to see if this adds to the learning experience. There has been lots of interest from academic staff regarding the potential use of 360 capture for several different purposes such as operating theatre orientation and hazard identification within a hospital ward. This technology is finding its feet but in creating enthusiasm is a great start here within the School of Health Sciences.

Aaron Fecowycz is a Learning Technologist working in the Health E-Learning and Media (HELM) Team at the University of Nottingham

The article was viewable from Friday, 2nd December 2016.

Author: Aaron Fecowycz