Introduction: How to Make a Snorricam

Picture of How to Make a Snorricam
The Snorricam, named after Einar Snorri and Eiour Snorri,or the "Snorri Brothers", is a body mount for a camera which is used to create an interesting point of view, which can be seen in such movies as I Am Legend, Slumdog Millionaire, The Hangover, and most impressively, Requiem for a Dream. I work for a small video production company, and with much enthusiasm from my boss, I designed and built my own version of the Snorricam, which is very adjustable and versatile. For about $30 in parts, and around a day of labor, You can have yourself an adjustable Snorricam of your own! Sorry for the lack of pictures, but i built it before I wrote this 'ible, but hopefully the Sketchup renderings will suffice.

ALSO: I am NOT responsible for dropped or broken cameras as a result of using this rig.  This Instructable is merely a guide to building a Snorricam, and should be adapted for your particular setup.  I suggest that if you build this rig, you test it with more weight than you'll be using before putting your precious camera on it.

For an adaptation on my design, check out HipHopSuperman's snorricam

Heres a video of me and the Snorricam in action.

And Heres a "behind the scenes" video of the setup we used for the above video.

Lastly, about 40 seconds into the video below, You can see the snorricam in action in our submission to the 48 hour film project in Portland, OR.

And here's a recent video of me building a snorricam for a friend.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials
My design is fairly simple, and requires only a few simple tools. All materials can be easily obtained at your local home improvement store (Home Depot is our favorite) for around $30. That being said, the more tools you have, the easier this build will be.

  • Drill with basic set of drill bits,
  • Handsaw,
  • Router with 1/4" roundover bit (optional),
  • Jigsaw,
  • Circular saw,
  • Hack saw with metal blade,
  • Sandpaper. I actually used drywall sandpaper cloth stuff, but use what you have around,
  • Compass with pencil attachment,
  • Small framing square (the kind with the lip and a 45 degree angle),
  • Tape measurer

  • One 1"x3" @ 8' long,
  • 3/4" plywood (You'll need 3 pieces no larger than 12" x 8" each),
  • 1/2" plywood (a piece no larger than 8" x 6"),
  • Matching nuts, bolts, and washers(Use what you have, I didnt have to buy any new hardware when building mine),
  • 1.5" angle iron or angle aluminum,
  • Wood screws
  • Two 2-packs of Tiedown straps from Home Depot(~$7 each)

Step 2: Building the Chest and Back Boards

Picture of Building the Chest and Back Boards

First cut twos 8" x 12" pieces of 3/4" plywood. You could also probably get away with using 1/2" plywood here, but i went with 3/4" because the chest piece will be supporting weight, and i didnt have enough 1/2" plywood. Scribe lines 1 inch in on the two long sides and one short side. From the unmarked edge, measure and mark at 1 1/2" and 2 1/4"(Picture 2). Measure and mark at 1" and 1.75" across the top line(Picture 3). Lastly, measure and mark at 2" and 2.75" down the side lines (Picture 4). Take the other board and clamp the two together one on top of the other. Next, drill out the holes with a 3/8 diameter drill bit and cut the pieces in between them with the jigsaw. If all goes well, it should look like picture 5. Route all edges with a 1/4" roundover bit.

Step 3: Building the Shoulder

Picture of Building the Shoulder

Scribe a line 1.5" into a piece of 3/4" ply. Take your compass and make a 4" radius semicircle starting from the line (Picture 2). Draw a 3" radius semicircle (Picture 3). Next, draw lines coming out of the center of the semicircle. I had my lines be 22.5 degrees apart, meaning there are lines at 90 degrees, 45 degrees in both directions, lines in between those, and lines 22.5 degrees further than 45 (Picture 4). I decided not to put lines at 0 and 180 degrees.

This next portion i did slightly in reverse. I built the lower arm first, then used the hole in that to drill the holes in the shoulder, ensuring that the holes would line up perfectly. If you feel confident in your precision drilling, continue reading. If you want to go the way i did, drill the center hole and go onto the next step, then return to this step to finish the shoulder.

Drill holes at the intersections of the rays and the 3" radius, as well as the center (Picture 5). Use whatever size bit you want to fit the hardware you're using. I used 5/16" for the radial holes and 1/4" for the center. Now cut along the 4" radius line and cut straight out of the board (Picture 6). Next, cut out 2 right triangles from 3/4" ply. The short sides should be 3" long. screw them into the piece you just cut out 2" from each end of it (Picture 7). Next, screw the triangles and the shoulder piece into the chest plate 1 inch from the top with the shoulder piece centered (Picture 8).

Step 4: Building the Lower Arm and Elbow

Picture of Building the Lower Arm and Elbow

To build the lower arm, start with a 1"x3" that is 17 1/4" long. Mark 1 1/4" inches down both ends, and make a semicircle radius 1 1/4" at one end of the piece (Picture 2). At the center of that semicircle, drill the same size hole as the center of the shoulder piece you made in the previous step. 3 inches further down the board (at 4 1/4"), mark a center point on the board. Drill a hole the size of the holes in the shoulder piece. Now cut the semicircle out of the end of the board (Picture 3). If you skipped drilling the holes in the last step, now is the time to put a bolt through the center hole and use the lower arm as a guide for drilling the holes in the shoulder. Drill another hole (the same size as the center of the shoulder) centered on the 1 1/4" line at the other end of the arm.

To build the elbow, start with a piece of 1/2" plywood that's 8" by 5 1/2". Draw a line 1 1/4" from the 8" side, and make 2 semicircles coming out from the center of that line. The radii should be 4" and 3" (Picture 4). Make marks every 22.5 degrees (Just like the shoulder piece) (Picture 5). If you want to use the upper arm as a guide for drilling the holes, Drill the center hole and skip to the next step now. If not, go ahead and drill the holes on the intersection of the lines and the 3" radius (Picture 6). Cut along the 4" semicircle line and line up the hole in the center with the hole at the end of the lower arm (Picture 7). Use a bolt to keep the center hole aligned and use screws to attach the 2 pieces. make sure your screws are flush with the semicircular piece.

Step 5: Building Upper Arm and Camera Mount

Picture of Building Upper Arm and Camera Mount

To build the upper arm, take a piece of 1"x 3" thats 13 1/4" long, and draw a line 1 1/4" up the board. Draw a semicircle( Just like the lower arm) and draw another line 3" further up the board (Picture 2). Cut out the semicircle at the end of the board (just like the lower arm). Drill a hole at the mark closest to the end of the board the same size as the center hole for the elbow. Drill another hole at the mark 3" further down the same size of the radial holes in the elbow piece(Picture 3).

If you skipped drilling the holes in the last step, now is the time to put a bolt through the center hole and use the upper arm as a guide for drilling the holes in the elbow.

Lastly, take your angle iron or aluminum and cut a 2.5" piece. Drill a hole for your camera; either 1/4" 20 thread for a direct mount or 3/8" 16 thread for mounting a small tripod head like I did (Picture 4). Depending on how you want to mount your camera, you might need to make this mounting plate adjustable. I would suggest finding some kind of small tripod head to put on the end of the snorricam. Without one, its difficult to fine-tune the shot once the snorricam is set up.

Step 6: Final Adjustments and Improvements

Picture of Final Adjustments and Improvements
Lastly, use adjustable straps to attach the two plates to each other. I used 1 strap for each shoulder and 2 straps for the rest of the body. Put bolts through the center of the shoulder and elbow pieces and tighten them down. The lower arm attaches to the shoulder, the upper arm attaches to the elbow as in the picture in this step. Use your other bolts to set the arms to their respective radial holes to get the shot you want.

And that's it! Here are some possible improvements I've thought about since I finished building it.
  • Make the upper arm longer, as the camera is pretty close.
  • Make more holes in the shoulder and elbow for more adjustments.
  • make this rig out of aluminum for durability and weight.
  • Make an adjustable camera mount on the end, using a similar style as the shoulder and elbow.
  • add some kind of counterweight system to the back plate to help counter the weight of the camera.

For an adaptation on my design, check out HipHopSuperman's snorricam

If you have questions or suggestions, leave a comment below!


hiphopsuperman (author)2009-10-05
After being inspired by this instrucable, I decided to make a snorricam of my own. If you wanna see my videos, here some of them are:

Check out my youtube channel for more! Thanks again CarterMarquis for the great tips!

Thats great! I would love to see pictures of your snorricam. and any modifications you made to my design.

Here you go! You motivated me to finally getting around to making an instructable! Thanks again for your great tutorial, it really helped me out for making my snorricam. Cheers!

nodnodwinkwink (author)2014-06-16

Hey, I know this is an old post but why are some of the videos private now? Wake was really funny, at least make that one public again!

ugman77 (author)2010-11-29

A friend of mine and I just built this, great instructable! I am really happy with the results. We added some L brackets for extra support as well.
I really love your design for pivoting, really is a lot better than some other designs I have seen.

Cartermarquis (author)ugman772010-11-30

Thanks! I'm glad you enjoy it. Post a link to any videos you make with it!

ugman77 (author)Cartermarquis2010-11-30

will do once my next project gets completed!

mg0930mg (author)2010-08-02

I love this. Already made mine, and made it so the head is adjustable. Very easy to follow, and takes an afternoon. I will post pictures and a video, soon hopefully.

mg0930mg (author)2010-07-04

Wonderful. I'm printing the instructions out now, and going to make this.

limez (author)2010-05-24

so i made it, TWICE, the first was for a friend who gave me like $45 bucks to make it, but i had a slight problem with figuring out how to use the second elbow, but i just made holes at the other end of the lower arm and it is quite adjustable.  one question though, a friend of mine who is an amazing cinematographer, wants me to make him one, but he wants to have it so that it can go at different angles, like side to side i guess.  do you have any suggestions? please.

Cartermarquis (author)limez2010-05-24

 I'm not really sure what you mean by "side to side".  My design might be a little too simple for what your friend wants.  A little more information about how your friend wants it to tilt would be helpful.

Physix21 (author)2010-04-07
    • One 1"x3" @ 8' long,
    • 3/4" plywood (You'll need 3 pieces no larger than 12" x 8" each),
    • 1/2" plywood (a piece no larger than 8" x 6"),
    1.5" angle iron or angle aluminum,
I dont understand this points :(.
Its inch, isnt it?
Can some one post it in cm?
Cartermarquis (author)Physix212010-04-07
  • One 2.54cmx7.62 @ 2.43m long,
  • 2cm plywood (You'll need 3 pieces no larger than 30cm x 20cm each),
  • 1.27cm plywood (a piece no larger than 20cm x 15cm),
3.8cm angle iron or angle aluminum,

Hope this helps.
Cartermarquis (author)2010-03-21

Haha thanks.  Be sure to post pictures of your snorricam when you finish! I love seeing how people adapt my  design.

916faith (author)2010-02-08

Hi I just found this site and its great! I love your snorri cam but can it hold a camcorder under 6lbs?

Cartermarquis (author)916faith2010-02-08

The most weight i've used with it is about 1.5 lbs, 5 or 6 pounds would be quite a bit, so I would use metal to build the frame.  Initially, this snorricam was supposed to be the wooden prototype for an aluminum or steel final version.

In short: consider how much weight you'll be holding 2 feet out in front of you, consider how much your camera costs and it's durability, and remember that i'm not liable for dropped cameras!

RebelApo (author)2009-12-10

Hi. Is there annny way you can list all the measurements you have in the google sketch up documents, here? I've been trying forever to figure out what it says, because I keep getting confused by your directions. I'm an excellent copier however, and just really need to know these measurement before I pull all my hair out, lol.

Cartermarquis (author)RebelApo2009-12-10

I've added a .zip folder containing the original images, which you can see the measurements in.  Post pictures when you finish!

RebelApo (author)Cartermarquis2009-12-11

Ah! Thank you so much. I had to do some guesstimate work on the plates as well. Will definitely post pictures when done.

Cartermarquis (author)RebelApo2009-12-11

I've added a .zip folder to each step containing those step's images, if you wanted to look at those too.

z00110100 (author)2009-07-16

Wow. Excellent. This is one of the best and most versatile DIY Snorricams I have ever seen. Fantastic!

z00110100 (author)z001101002009-07-16

Great shirt in the test film too. :] Seriously though.

Cartermarquis (author)z001101002009-07-16

Thanks alot! I haven't seen many other DIY ones except from Indy Mogul weekend extra, which inspired me to make a new design. The shirt is a Planet Hollywood shirt, and it turns out one of my friends has the same one!

mg0930mg (author)Cartermarquis2009-08-20

Don't know if you know, but indy mogul just did a new one, and I have to say yours is still the best.

Cartermarquis (author)mg0930mg2009-08-20

Thanks! Yeah The weird part is that they probably built theirs at the same time I was building mine.

mg0930mg (author)Cartermarquis2009-08-20

Yeah, because they need that week or so in advance. I really like this, though. I believe this will be my first project when I move. :)

Cartermarquis (author)mg0930mg2009-08-20

Great! I'd love to see pictures and video when you finish.

mg0930mg (author)Cartermarquis2009-08-21

I will most likely have it done by halloween, if we move in time. :)

z00110100 (author)Cartermarquis2009-07-19

No problem! I have to go find one of those shirts now, heh.

adcurtin (author)2009-07-22

This is a sweet instructable. Here's a tip for drilling holes in wood: if you're going all the way through, put another piece of scrap wood below the main piece, it will prevent the main piece from chipping out on the back side of the board.

Cartermarquis (author)adcurtin2009-07-22

Yeah, This was actually going to just be a mock-up for a final design, and it ended up being the final design, so the quality isn't the best,

Bomberkid (author)2009-07-17

I thought this was an insturctable for video taping people who were snorring ( >_< FAIL). But it's still really cool sense I like to film a lot. I just never have enough time to make any of this kind of stuff.

Cartermarquis (author)Bomberkid2009-07-18

You could easily film someone snoring, but yeah, That's not what it was originally for.

I have same camera. execpt with a bigger (better?(maby)) lens. p.s. i dont know the specs of the lens.

Nice. Yeah the lens we used was the 18-105mm that came with the camera, mainly because it was our widest lens.

well none the less your camera still has great quality. :)

mappum (author)2009-07-16

Opps, the link in my post below doesn't work. here's the link:

Cartermarquis (author)mappum2009-07-16

Yeah the one used in that video is mounted really low, which would be semi-difficult to do with my rig.

mappum (author)2009-07-16

This must be how they did the gypsy scene in "The Red Violin". Here it is: The part I'm talking about is 55 seconds in.

ydma1796 (author)2009-07-16

Excellent job, my son is a junior videographer. I think he would love it if I made him one of these.... 5 stars all the way

Cartermarquis (author)ydma17962009-07-16

Thanks! I think this project is fairly simple, which is what I was going for when i designed this version.

ydma1796 (author)Cartermarquis2009-07-16

My son is 13, So I like the ease of use with the wing-nuts. He shouldn't have any problems using such a device.... Again great job thanks.

fultron89 (author)2009-07-15

Very impressive, do you have a max camera weight that you've established? I assume it would be best to have a grip or someone steady a heavier camera, especially if you're doing some running... Also, now I know what to call this effect. I keep seeing it everywhere, and now I know it's a snorricam.

Cartermarquis (author)fultron892009-07-16

The D90 we used to shoot "Wake" weighed 2-3 pounds, and that was about the limit I would be comfortable using without some kind of counterweight. We also tried a Canon HV20 which was much lighter. We also decided to try out a Flip camcorder, which is virtually weightless. My friend has a Canon XLH1-a, which weighs about 10 pounds, and we never considered using it, considering its also his baby.

Daddio_UK (author)2009-07-16

I like it, but it looks seriously heavy.

Cartermarquis (author)Daddio_UK2009-07-16

It really isnt. After a while you figure out how to move and walk to minimize the effective weight of the camera.

glut (author)2009-07-15

Good idea And the result is very impressive.

Cartermarquis (author)glut2009-07-15

Thanks, I like it alot.

volquete (author)2009-07-14

oh ts a steadycam. thanks!

Cartermarquis (author)volquete2009-07-14

Not quite a steadycam, its a fixed camera mount as opposed to a steadycam that has dampers and springs to smooth the video. But in a way, it is a steadycam.

About This Instructable




Bio: I like making things, and I like showing people how to make things.
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