A SnorriCam (also chestcam, bodymount camera, bodycam or bodymount) is a camera device used in filmmaking that is rigged to the body of the actor, facing the actor directly, so when they walk, they do not appear to move, but everything around them does. A SnorriCam presents a dynamic point of view from the actor's perspective, providing an unusual sense of vertigo for the viewer.
The concept of the SnorriCam has been around for decades. Various ad hoc versions of the device were implemented in films going as far back as the Nazi-banned "Kuhle Wampe" in 1932 and Seconds, in 1966. However, the practicality of such a point-of-view device was limited by the weight of the camera. Since most 35mm motion picture cameras were simply too heavy to carry easily, there was no real point in developing such a device. However, with the emergence of the Steadicam and the manufacture of small, lightweight cameras that could fit on the Steadicam platform, an added bonus of these newer, lighter cameras was the possibility of a point-of-view device such as the SnorriCam.
Uses in film
SnorriCam sequences have been used in cinema. In Mean Streets, a SnorriCam shot follows the lead character (played by Harvey Keitel) as he moves through a crowded bar and passes out drunk in the back. In Truck Turner, the character played by Yaphet Kotto can be seen in his final throes of death through the eyes of a SnorriCam. Armageddon uses a virtual SnorriCam to depict an astronaut being hit by a burst of gas and flying off into space. In 28 Weeks Later, a zombie is filmed through a SnorriCam while chasing Robert Carlyle's character.
Uses in television
The "Sir Digby Chicken-Caesar" sketches in That Mitchell and Webb Look use a SnorriCam extensively. In Torchwood, the episode "Dead Man Walking" (Season 2 Episode 7) also has a sequence where the character Owen Harper is seen moving through a nightclub in a SnorriCam sequence with a slight speed up. The first episode of the second series of Skins features a SnorriCam being used in a party scene. The British television show Misfits also uses a SnorriCam during a party scene with several of the characters. The show Scrubs uses SnorriCam shots in a few episodes to show nervousness. In the Discovery Channel show Survivorman, Les Stroud will often employ this technique when walking, due to the limitations of not having a film crew. The technique has also been used in episodes of the hit television series Lost. Season 1 of Dexter also features a SnorriCam shot at the start of episode 11 used on the main character, Dexter Morgan. The technique is also featured in the seventh series of "Supernatural". Last episode of first series of Shameless features Snorricam being used in the opening scene. The shots in "Scrubs", "Dexter", "Lost" and "Shameless" were all accomplished using the Bodymount from Doggicam Systems.
Uses in music videos
One of the first uses of a SnorriCam in music videos was in The Smashing Pumpkins video "1979" directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris in 1995. Other notable uses of the SnorriCam are in Spike Jonze's 1998 "Home" video for Sean Lennon, Janet Jackson's "Go Deep" in 1998, Tricky's 1995 video for "Hell Is Round the Corner", the Marcos Siega-directed System of a Down video for "Chop Suey!" (2001), Mick Jagger's "God Gave Me Everything" (2001) video by Mark Romanek, Siobhán Donaghy's "Overrated" (2003) video by Big TV!, Samuel Bayer's Green Day "Jesus of Suburbia" (2005) video, David Mould's video for Placebo's "Meds" (2006), James Blunt's "Same Mistake" (2007) directed by Jonas Åkerlund and Tove Lo's "Habits" (2013) video directed by Motellet. Adam Buxton/Garth Jennings's video to Radiohead's "Jigsaw Falling into Place" (2008) uses head cams in order to achieve the same effect that the SnorriCam provides. Branden Bratuhin and Marcus Matyas' video for Danielle Duval, "Imposter" (2011) utilized a compact digital camera to record her singing her song across various locations in Toronto.