How Scorsese's SnorriCam Shot Can Help Sell Your Characters
The SnorriCam is a useful piece of equipment that can get inside your character's head. But what is it?
What if I told you there was a trick that Hollywood directors use to get into the mental state of their characters. Not a voiceover or anything on the script level, but something your cinematographer can achieve with a little rig. And not only can they do it, but it's a simple enough rig you can build at home.
It's called a SnorriCam and it creates shots you've seen in movies and TV but maybe didn't know how to do them at home. So today we'll look at the move, the apparatus, and talk about why it works.
But first -- what the hell is a SnorriCam? And how can you DIY a SnorriCam shot for your movie or TV show? We got you covered.
Check out this thread from Netflix!
There are multiple ways for film to capture the interior emotional world of a character, from cinematography to sound design. But one way to put an audience directly into a character’s headspace? The Snorricam shot. (thread)
There are multiple ways for film to capture the interior emotional world of a character, from cinematography to sound design. But one way to put an audience directly into a character’s headspace? The Snorricam shot. (thread)— Netflix Film (@NetflixFilm) August 21, 2019
So....what is the SnorriCam?
A SnorriCam can also be called a chestcam, body mount camera, body cam, or body mount. This device is used by filmmakers and they rig it to the body of an actor. The SnorriCam shot allows the camera to face the actor directly so that when they walk, they do not appear to move, but everything around them does move.
The SnorriCam shot can be jarring, sure. And it does not have much screen time due to the following reasons:
- It can be disorienting to the audience
- It draws attention to the filmmaking and can take you out of the story
The history of the SnorriCam
Check out this video from Slate that goes over some famous SnorriCam shots and uses over the decades.
How to make a SnorriCam rig, courtesy of I Love Hate Photo
One of my favorite "how to" websites is I Love Hate Photo. They have practical and cheap ways to make professional equipment and a ton of free advice. When I was researching the SnorriCam, their step-by-step process of how to make one showed up.
I want to reprint a few photos and the materials here so you can make one at home as well.
First, head to your nearest home improvement store to buy a bunch of PVC pipes!
Then, harness your Lego skills and attach them like so.
Finally, you want to paint and pad the PVC pipes so that your actor is comfortable and the kit looks a little more professional.
Finally, use a belt and some other fasteners to put it around your character's waist. Then it's time to shoot.
What's next? 50+ Camera Angles and Movements!
Have you ever been overwhelmed at the possibility of every camera angle, framing, and shot type available as a filmmaker? Us too. So we provided a cheat sheet with definitions for you!
Click the link to learn more!