Who Are You? Voice-Over Perspective in Surround Video

  • Mirjam VosmeerEmail author
  • Christian Roth
  • Hartmut Koenitz
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10690)


With the renewed interest in VR, new questions arise for content creators, as existing cinematic practices cannot simply be transferred. In this paper, we describe two experiments investigating which voice-over perspective elicits the best sense of presence for viewers of cinematic VR content. For the first experiment different voice-over narrations in first, second and third person perspectives were added to a VR video. This test showed that viewers preferred the voice-over in second person perspective, as this provided them with the strongest sense of presence and a feeling of ‘being in the story’. In the second experiment, we used a short 360° documentary with a first person voice-over perspective, and compared it to a version of the same documentary with a second person voice-over, using a quantitative survey. In this experiment, however, no significant difference was found between the two groups of respondents. In our discussion, we explore several possible reasons that may have contributed to this outcome.


User perspective Presence Cinematic VR Oculus rift Virtual reality Interactive narrative design Voice over 



This research project is funded by SiA RAAK – Nationaal Regieorgaan Praktijkgericht Onderzoek. Special thanks to the students at Medialab Amsterdam for creating the source material and conducting the experiments for our first study. We also want to thank IDFA DocLab and VPRO television for their kind cooperation in the second study.


  1. 1.
    Watercutter, A.: Oculus is awesome for games, but it’s the future of movies. Wired (2014). Accessed June 2017
  2. 2.
    Solomon, B.: Facebook buys Oculus virtual reality gaming startup for 2 billion. Forbes (2014). Accessed June 2017
  3. 3.
    Koenitz, H.: Design approaches for interactive digital narrative. In: Schoenau-Fog, H., Bruni, L.E., Louchart, S., Baceviciute, S. (eds.) ICIDS 2015. LNCS, vol. 9445, pp. 50–57. Springer, Cham (2015). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Roth, C., Koenitz, H.: Towards creating a body of evidence-based interactive digital narrative design knowledge: approaches and challenges. In: AltMM 2017, Mountain View, CA (2017).
  5. 5.
    Vosmeer, M., Schouten, B.: Interactive cinema: engagement and interaction. In: Mitchell, A., Fernández-Vara, C., Thue, D. (eds.) ICIDS 2014. LNCS, vol. 8832, pp. 140–147. Springer, Cham (2014). Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Vosmeer, M., Roth, C., Schouten, B.: Interaction in surround video: the effect of auditory feedback on enjoyment. In: Schoenau-Fog, H., Bruni, L.E., Louchart, S., Baceviciute, S. (eds.) ICIDS 2015. LNCS, vol. 9445, pp. 202–210. Springer, Cham (2015). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Cho, J., Lee, T.-H., Ogden, J., Stewart, A., Tsai, T.-Y., Chen, J., Vituccio, R.: Imago: presence and emotion in virtual reality. In: ACM SIGGRAPH 2016 VR Village (ACM), p. 6 (2016)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hodgkinson, G.: Lock up your stories - here comes Virtual Reality. TECHART: J. Arts Imaging Sci. 3(4), 10–14 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Kors, M., Ferri, G., Van der Spek, E., Ketel, C., Schouten, B.: A breathtaking journey: on the design of an empathy-arousing mixed-reality game. In: Proceedings of the 2016 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (ACM), pp. 91–104 (2016)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Riva, G., Mantovani, F., Capideville, C.-S., Preziosa, A., Morganti, F., Villani, D., Gaggioli, A., Botella, C., Mariano, A.M.: Affective interactions using virtual reality: the link between presence and emotions. CyberPsychol. Behav. 10(1), 45–56 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Murray, J.: Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace. The MIT Press, Cambridge (1998)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Ryan, M.-L.: Narrative as Virtual Reality 2: Revisiting Immersion and Interactivity in Literature and Electronic Media. JHU Press, Baltimore (2015)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Kozloff, S.: Invisible Storytellers. University of California Press, Berkely (1988)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    McKee, R.: Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting. Harper-Collins Publishers, New York (1997)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Kozloff, S.: About a clueless boy and girl: Voice-over in romantic comedy today. Cinephile Voice-Over 8(1), 5–14 (2012)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Tabarraee, B.: Editor’s note. Cinephile Voice-Over 8(1), 2 (2012)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Laamanen, C.: What does God hear? terrence malick, voice-over, and the tree of life. Cinephile Voice-Over 8(1), 15–20 (2012)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Crowther, W.: Adventure [Video Game] (1976)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Lebling: Zork [Video Game]. Infocom, Cambridge (1980)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Curtis, P.: LambdaMOO [online game] Xerox PARC. Washington USA: Played 1995 (1990)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Dibbell, J.: My Tiny Life. Fourth Estate Limited, London (1999)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Roth, C.: Experiencing Interactive Storytelling. Ph.D. thesis (2016). Accessed June 2017
  23. 23.
    North, M.-M., North, S.-M.: A comparative study of sense of presence of traditional virtual reality and immersive environments. Austr. J. Inf. Syst. 20 (2016)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Roth, C., Koenitz, H.: Evaluating the user experience of interactive digital narrative. In: AltMM 2016, pp. 31–36. ACM Press, New York (2016).
  25. 25.
    Burdette, M.: The Swayze effect (2016). Accessed June 2017
  26. 26.
    De la Pena, N., Weil, P., Llobera, J., et al.: Immersive journalism: Immersive virtual reality for the first-person experience of news. Presence: Teleoper. Virtual Exp. 19(4), 291–301 (2010)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Milk, C.: How virtual reality can create the ultimate empathy machine (2015). Accessed June 2017
  28. 28.
    Murray, J.H.: Not a Film and Not an Empathy Machine, 6 October 2016. Accessed 20 Mar 2017
  29. 29.
    Semmler, S.-M., Loof, T., Berke, C.: The influence of audio-only character narration on character and narrative engagement. Commun. Res. Rep. 32(1), 63–72 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mirjam Vosmeer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christian Roth
    • 2
  • Hartmut Koenitz
    • 2
  1. 1.Amsterdam University of Applied SciencesAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.HKU University of the ArtsUtrechtThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations