I’ve always been curious about why everyone loves duct tape so much. What has duct tape ever done for you? That’s right: nothing. Let me tell you about duct tape’s much more useful, less lazy cousin: gaff tape. Gaff tape is an indispensable tool for filmmakers everywhere, and once you find out why, you won’t understand how you lived without it for so long.
Here’s a roll of gaff tape. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
Gaff tape (or gaffers tape) is called such because it’s most likely used by the gaffer, the person responsible for most of the electrical and lighting on film sets. It’s the best kind of tape you can use on set, for a variety of reasons.
- You can stick it to a surface, peel it up, and it won’t damage the surface it was on or leave any ugly glue residue.
- It’s really easy to tear off of the roll, so there’s no need to carry scissors around.
- It’s super durable, and most brands are waterproof. In the video below, Olivia shows us her brand of choice, along with some handy applications:
- Gaff tape comes in many different types, sizes, and colors (the most popular being matte black), and one roll (about 30 yards) of this miraculous product will set you back about $10. Which is kind of a lot for a roll of tape. But hold on a second, don’t go running back to inferior tape just yet! Let me tell you about all the ways you can use gaff tape:
- Secure loose wires to the floor to prevent tripping hazards.
- Make marks on the floor as a guide for your actors and where you want them to stand.
- Got a stray item hanging in your shot? Tape it up and out of the way.
- Make really cool-looking mustaches and beards.
- Use it on your slate to keep things from accidentally being erased. Just get some white gaff tape, stick it on, and start writing. So go ahead — tape it like you mean it.