What Is Gaffers Tape? Why Use it?
Updated June 14, 2020
Gaffers tape may look pretty similar to duct tape but it is has its distinct qualities. Gaffers tape is a variant of a duct tape designed to be utilized by production crews in television, motion pictures, concerts, and live shows, to tape down cables and other short-term set-ups.
This type of tape is designed for temporary usage so when removed, it does no harm to whatever it is applied to and does not leave any residue, as duct tape does. But even after a lengthy duration, gaffer tape is neatly removed.
The rubber adhesion of duct tape cannot withstand high heat so it softens and melts, leaving residue behind when removed. Gaffers tape can endure heat of at least 93 degrees celsius.
< hook in 3 gaffers tape products from landing page here >
It is made of cloth and can be torn lengthwise to create thinner strips or crosswise to make smaller ones even without scissors or other cutting tools for precise application. It does not bond on rough vinyl plastic, or on dirty and dusty surfaces. It will free from skin when you perspire.
The most common sizes used in film, arts & entertainment, or venues are 2 inch gaffers tape and 3 inch gaffers tape.
Gaffer tape is manufactured in other colors but is usually in matte black so it blends well with a normal theater stage or black cables of film and television cameras.
The rough matte finish does not reflect light on to other surfaces so it does not affect lighting in production shoots and crews can grip equipment and props even with sweaty hands.
Gaffers Tape Pricing
Gaffers tape is priced three or four times the quantity of a spool of duct tape of the same length; this is because it is designed for a niche industry, it is produced in smaller volumes, and it demands a specification that makes it easy to tear and to remove cleanly. Black gaffers tape and White Gaffers Tape are the most commonly used colors in all industries.
Uses of Gaffers Tape
More often than not gaffers tape is use to fasten wires to conceal them from the view of a theater audience or of a camera lens or to the floor for safety.
Thin strips of colored gaffers tape is also used as blocking indicators for actors. It is also used when an immediate unplanned solution is needed, from briefly fastening equipment or props to repairing a broken production fixture.
Audio-visual production teams in convention centers and hotels extensively use gaffers tape to hold down cables to platforms and stands. It is essential for any videographer and to any production rental companies.
Other Uses of Gaffers Tape
On stages, using black gaffers tape can provide black edges to tables, chairs, and other props; it can be used to soften clattering noises of shoes on stage; and it is used to fasten props on shelves in a moving set.
Photographers utilize the tape to label cameras and camera accessories and to avoid lens flickering in the backdrop. Remedy light streaking through a camera’s viewfinder by taping gaffers tape over it.
For lighting crews, gaffers tape can be used to mark on stages where lights are to be aimed and to nail a piece of cloth to a wall for a headshot background.
Some sound crews use gaffers tape to fasten radio microphone belt packs to the actor’s back; other sound crews use gaffers tape to secure the positions of microphone stands.
There are a whole lot of uses of gaffers tape in various sectors and it depends on the user’s creativity and resourcefulness to take advantage of its capabilities.
Still have questions? Check out the top 50 Questions about Gaffers Tape Here