March 17, 2018

Capture Beautifully Disorienting POV Shots with This DIY SnorriCam

Let's build some DIY SnorriCams!

You know those weird POV shots where everything but your actor seems to be moving? You know what I'm talking about—you rig a camera to your actor, which is also facing them, so when they move around, it looks like they're completely still while the world around them is moving?

Yeah, that's what's known as a "SnorriCam" shot. Though director Darren Aronofsky famously used it in his 2000 psycho drama Requiem for a Dream, many filmmakers use it these days to convey a sense of disorientation, drunkenness, or paranoia.

If you're still unsure of what I'm talking about, here's a video that will get you up to speed.

That shot is not only really effective at communicating a sense of disorientation but it is also incredibly fun to do. But how exactly do filmmakers pull it off? Well, in this tutorial, filmmaker Zach Ramelan and cinematographer Karl Janisse explain in great detail how to build one of these SnorriCam rigs from scratch, using some wood, a couple of 750 base plates, straps, grip heads, and Magic Arms. Check it out below:

Admittedly, this build is a little labor-intensive, requiring you to do some sawing, drilling, and screwing. Not only that, but you'll have to get your hands on a hefty amount of materials in order to put it together correctly. If you don't mind the investment, this DIY SnorriCam looks like it can not only do exactly what it's intended to do but also be relatively comfortable and secure while doing it.

We reached out to Zach to get a better idea of how he and Karl constructed the rig. He provided a nifty parts list, as well as a few tips on construction:

Base Parts:

  • x1 - 1" plywood (custom cut to fit subject's torso)
  • x2 - 750 baseplates (1x3"x12")
  • x5 - yards of 2" nylon webbing straps
  • x3 - M/F 2" buckles
  • x3 - 2" strap adjuster
  • x3 - 2" strap receptacle (Zach and Karl used wide metal adjusters and screwed them in with wide washers)
  • x2 - yards of 2" M/F black velcro
  • x1 - box of 1.5" long wood screws ("Anything that makes it all the way through the wood should be taken down with an angle grinder until it's flush.")
  • Collection of washers to fit the screws

Rigging Parts

  • x1 - Manfrotto 143 Magic Arm
  • x1 - 3/8M to 1/4 -20M adapter
  • x1 - Quick release base adn plate (ex: Manfrotto 577 with 501L plate)

[For cameras over 6.5lbs, add the following for a secondary mounting point:]

  • x1 - Grip head
  • x1 - 20" grip arm

Zach and Karl also give a good tip for adding a little bit of comfort for your subject as they wear the rig. "For comfort, you will want to purchase some raw cuts of foam and sew them into pads with raw (preferably black) duvetyne that will sit between the user and the SnorriCam."

If you're not looking to spend a whole lot of time and money on a rig that you may or may not use a whole lot, you can also try turning your tripod into a makeshift SnorriCam. Here's a tutorial that shows you how to do it:

Have you ever built a DIY SnorriCam? How did you do it? Let us know down in the comments!     

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1 Comment

Pretty good... I did this with a styrofoam lid to a cooler, a broom pole, and a gopro: https://vimeo.com/32686517

March 22, 2018 at 7:32AM

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Roberto Serrini
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