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Old January 25th, 2009, 04:24 AM   #1
New Boot
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Manchester England
Posts: 8
Tape jammed in camera, 2 scenes left to film! please help!

Hello everyone

I learned much in my time browsing these forums as a guest and have yet to encounter a problem that I couldn't solve with a search.......until today!

I am nearing the end of shooting a short horror film on a dvx 100A I got second hand a month ago. Its my first proper effort and its been a real challenge so far, much harder than I expected but we are close to finishing now and plan on entering the film to a horror film festival on Jan 31.

A couple of days ago I captured some footage and tried to eject the tape but it was stuck in the deck. I closed it up and tried again but same thing happened. The tape can rewind, play and record/capture normally but will not pull free when I try to remove it. It is loose and comes up about half a centimetre/ quarter of an inch when I open it up but then it snags. Its as if the tape itself is somehow trapped. It reminds me of when a VCR player chews up a video tape and it wont come free when you eject.

Can anyone advise me on this problem? Is it something I can fix myself or will I need to send off for repair? How much is this likely to cost?

My situation is that there are 2 short scenes left to complete the film, will I get away with filming these on the jammed tape without damaging my camera (ive already filmed one other like this and its captured ok and camera seems fine). We’ve all worked so hard on it and it would be a real demoraliser to send the camera off for repair and miss the submission deadline.

Thanks for any help!

Sam Clayton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 25th, 2009, 07:19 AM   #2
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: North Conway, NH
Posts: 1,745
Seems it shouldn't be a problem. If I understand what's going on correctly the carriage won't lift out to present the tape for removal. If there's some little bit of clag that's jamming the eject mechanism, it shouldn't effect the tape for shooting.

But if there are some bits rattling around inside the cam, you'll want to be careful that it doesn't drift off and jam up a more critical component.
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Old January 25th, 2009, 08:27 AM   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 4,299
Something similar happens with the sony TCD10 DAT machines. There is a little tension bar in th DAT machine which rides on the tape and is shoved out into the path by other components wheh the tape loads. When the tape unloads, it is returned to rest by pressure of a hairspring.

The lube in the pivot bearing dries out and becomes like gum. The little hairspring no longer has enough power to return the tension bar back. The tape unloads fine, maybe begins to hang a slight fold out under the cassette lid when it closes. Then one day it hangs onto the tape which no longer under power of the take-up motors can pull the bar back into the unload position where the spring used to put it.

I would be inclined to take the risk and shoot the rest of the project if the camera is otherwise reliable. Capture often so there is less lost if something breaks. Do a safety dub to another tape in another camera via firewire if you can so you have a safety archive outside of the computer. Then you can try to get the tape out.

Bear in mind that towards the end of the tape, the take-up motor and capstan have less power over the incoming tape if the brake actuator has gotten on the wrong side of the tape somehow and the outfeed brake remains on. This will mean spoiled shots and maybe a damaged tape from over-tension. I would have expected something else to have gone wrong by now if this was the problem.

If you keep the camera upside down in a warm place for a few hours, play the tape then wind it on or rewind it to a safe point where you lose nothing if the tape is damaged. Forward wind to the to the end may be best as it is most often that the rewind motor is the one which winds the tape back in on unload. The empty spool, free of frictional resistance of the full wind of tape against the cassette sides, will enable slightly more motor power on pulling the tape in against the resistance of the tensioning bar.

Turn the camera upside-down and leave it in the warm place for another hour or so, then whilst still keeping it upside-down, try ejecting the tape.

It might just come out for you cleanly. If it does, do not again use the camera but get it serviced.

Last edited by Bob Hart; January 25th, 2009 at 08:41 AM. Reason: added text.
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Old January 26th, 2009, 04:55 AM   #4
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Manchester England
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Thanks Tripp. The carriage does come out and presents the tape but the tape snags when I try to lift it out.

Thats some good advice Bob. Thanks for helping me out. I feel less worried! It will take me the next few days to finish shooting those scenes and then i'l try removing the tape the way you suggested then I'l send the camera off for service. It only has about 20hrs on the clock but the guy who had it before me barely used it over a year long period so perhaps thats why its dried up.

Most of the remainder of the film will be shot from inside a van so I may be able to capture live onto a laptop the whole time with firewire. I never thaught of that before.


I'l let you know how it goes

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