Adventures in DSLR Feature Film Production: Screw Mount Stuck in Camera

I was testing out a camera mount I bought that attaches to a car via suction cups. I screwed  my DSLR on and tested the mount on the car windows on the inside of the car. It worked great. It really stayed on the window. It stayed on the window too good, as the screw mount came off with the camera.

It was really on there tight and would not come off. Immediate fears included:

  • The screw being on the camera forever, thus damning the camera to never again know the touch of a tripod.
  • Stripping the threads on the “mount hole” or whatever it’s called inside the camera, and likewise damning my camera to never again mount atop a quick release plate. Or thus damning me to some hefty camera repair fees.
  • My efforts to fix the camera would result in breaking it.

I searched around the internet and found this forum post. One contributor posted this solution:

You will need two nuts screw them on to the thread then tighten them against each other as tight as you can. use the bottom nut to unscrew them post.

And another poster echoed that solution with:

Get two 1/4″x20 nuts and put them on shaft. Unscrew with wrench using the bottom nut.

This solution sounded interesting and cheap, but I was having trouble visualizing it. Wouldn’t the nuts just unscrew? Would I have to tighten one nut by loosening the other?

I was also finding solutions that included pliers and good grip. Maybe that would be easier? Maybe a little WD-40 would help?

As I continued researching the internet, I read somewhere that the stainless steel in the screw and the stainless steel in the camera threads could actually weld if they were tightened too hard. Yikes!

Nervous to take tools to my camera, I took the problem to Yahoo Answers, here’s the link. I received 4 responses within a few hours. Here’s what I learned:

  • I needed to to try the dual-nut method using two 1/4 inch 20 nuts. I think the 20 means the nuts are stainless steel. Two wrenches would be needed to tighten the nuts together.
  • Never apply any oil lubricant to your camera, especially around the mount as the camera mount threads on your camera do have spaces for the oil to enter your camera. Since oil doesn’t evaporate, once inside your camera it could go anywhere and do who knows what.
  • The camera threads might get stripped using pliers or vice grips to remove the screw shaft.

So, thanks to the vote of confidence for the dual bolt method, I went to the hardware store and got the two 1/4 inch 20 nuts, as well as another wrench so I would have two, per the recommendation.

First, I removed the lens from the camera and put on the protector cap. This protected the lens and made the camera easier to grip between my legs.

ASIDE: I feel with all this talk of mounts, screws, tightening, and “between the legs” there’s no way to escape  intense sexual imagery, so I’m cool with it, happily married, and hope we can live in a world one day where there’s no shame connected to the beautiful human body.

I spun on the two nuts on the screw shaft, then tightened them to each other. To “tighten them to each other,” with two wrenches I tightened the bottom nut counter-clockwise and the top nut clockwise. This method made the nuts tightened together on the screw. For some reason I thought I had to keep clockwise tightening pressure on the top nut while I applied counter clockwise pressure to the bottom nut. I don’t believe this was necessary. I think just moving the bottom nut counter clock wise would work fine. Moving the screw clockwise tightens it further and could make matters worse. I made a few fractions of a counter clockwise turn and wasn’t sure anything was happening. When I took the wrenches off however the shaft unscrewed easily by hand using the nuts as a grip. The shaft came out quickly and none of the camera threads were damaged. Once I had the two nuts and two wrenches, the entire process took a few minutes. And no incredible amount of brute strength was needed. I tested mounting the camera on a quick release plate and everything works fine.

Magic: The Jeffersons Theme Song over The Jetsons

You can’t move up much further than the Jetsons.

Gather Ye Rosebuds

I was meditating last night and got the idea for this short. I shot it on a Canon T3i, edited on iMovie 6 and added music in Garageband.

Here is the description I wrote on YouTube:

Gather Ye Rosebuds, a chilling cry to cast aside our responsibilities and engage in frivolities. Or perhaps, a cry from space? Is poetry an artificial construct or is the human experience coming from somewhere else? Are we destined or do we trudge along in a statistical maze on uncertaintly? Gather Ye Rosebuds is a film which examines these questions in the guise of a monster movie. To the astute observer this is merely a web video, but the untrained eye it is a gateway into the inner recesses of doubt. Are we who we think we are? What do we truly remember about our existence. Is the sun a giver of life or the remnant technology of a collapsed universe? Questions not answers are what give each of us breath. Join the mystery.

The George W. Bush Presidential Library Jokes

This week the United States dedicated a library to a President who stole an election (or two?), tricked us into war, and started us down the road of torture and illegal detainment. Here are some jokes I wrote about it.

Shakespeare in the Park for One

Some mornings you just want to get up and perform a little Shakespeare in the Park. This is Bottom’s “Dream Speech” from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a show I did in college.

Just Another Jeremiah Doing That Glengarry Glen Ross Monologue Video

This is a monologue from the screenplay of Glengarry Glenn Ross by David Mamet, made famous by Alec Baldwin. I noticed in the other video I did of this monologue, my attention seems to be all over the place so I tried to focus just on my scene partner, the camera.

The Walking Dead/Who’s The Boss?

I took the audio from the intro to The Walking Dead and put it over the video of the intro of Who’s The Boss? Magic.

Mozart The Cat’s Joey Lawrence Impression

I have finally started documenting my cat’s uncanny impression of actor Joey Lawrence.

Recent Videos I’ve Made

Here are some recent videos I’ve been making. All except for the stand-up reel were shot with a Canon T3i and edited with iMovie and Garageband.


Bro Angeles: Taco Truck
A comedy sketch inspired by Portlandia.


Doctor Space!

I made this video using a real e-mail from work.


Glengarry Glen Ross Monologue

Here’s a monologue I’ve been doing at theatre auditions. Caution: Dramatic Language!


Stand-Up Comedy Reel

Here are some highlights from my stand-up comedy. Caution: Frank discussion of male anatomy.


Professor Damrosch and The Cinnamon Broom

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