What is gaffer’s tape used for and Gaffers tape vs duct tape

Gaffers tape is used to hide the cables or wires on any stage, production house, photography or movie sets, etc. Because of its non-reflective matte finish and leaving no residue on the materials used, photographers or any show organizers are being loved by photographers or any show organizers to give a nice look to the stage by hiding the cables from the crowd. 

Things you need to know about gaffers tape

Hearing about leaving no residue on the objects it has been used on and the excellent adhesive nature, you might be thinking of what is actually used to make this tape? Gaffers tape is a kind of tape that is made of vinyl-coated heavy cloth and it comes with strong adhesive.

It is highly recommended for the production houses to make their surroundings safer and keeps the materials damage-free. Gaffers tape doesn't leave any residue on the object after taking it off. The tape comes with excellent heat-resistant and that's why you can use it in any circumstances without thinking about the bad environment or temperature.

What is gaffer  tape used for

Why gaffers tape is being used

Most commonly, black colour gaffers tape is used in theatres, stages, or movie sets because of the matte finish and non-reflective colour. Except for black colours, various colourful gaffers' tapes are also available in the market for various uses.

Hiding cables

To hide cables, black gaffer tape is being used typically. On the shooting spot or photography spot, you might have an unwanted accident through these uncovered cables and these can also reduce or damage the video or photographic quality. That's why it is better to hide them by using gaffer tape with a matte finish.

A movie show or performance stage generally remains dark, so using black gaffer tape in these places is the right option. However, you can use colourful gaffer tape for the same purpose in other spots to distinguish different cables. And after you remove the tape, you will find no residue left behind on the cable or wire.

Distinguishing gears

It may be you are travelling somewhere, or you are at a place where more than one person has the same gear as you. It may become difficult now or then to identify which one is whose. So put a mark on your gear with gaffer tape, which will make it different from the other gears.

Showing cautious places

 Suppose you are a cop or you are shooting in such a place with some risky spots. A cop can use gaffer tape around the cautious place to make the people aware of the risk. And you can do the same in your shooting spot by marking the risky places and make your whole crew aware.  

Drawing arrows

 You can use this recreational purpose like arranging a funny game or shooting spot to show where the performer needs to move on afterwards. Using colourful tapes will make it easier to distinguish which spot you need to use for shooting.

Marking spots

 Make it easier for the actors by marking their spots, where they need to stand while delivering their dialogues in a particular scene. This will save your time in making them stand in the right place and then say roll, camera and action. Mark the spots before and save your time.

Hanging something on the wall 

 One of your crew members might be looking to take off his jacket but finding no place to put it off. Well, use a piece of gaffer tape and hang it on the wall.

Setting up a microphone on your body 

 You can use gaffer tape on your skin as well for various purposes like attaching the microphone. However, you may lose a few body hairs if you have while removing the tape.

Gaffers tape vs duct tape

I have seen many ones saying which tape is better gaffers tape or duct tape, but actually, they are used for a different purpose and that's why each of them is better in their fields.

  • Using period: Duct tape comes with stronger adhesive than gaffer tape, so you should use duct tape for semi-permanent or permanent purposes and gaffer tape for temporary purposes.
  • Leaving residue behind: Because of the strong adhesive, duct tape will damage the object you have used by leaving the residue behind after removing it. However, gaffer tape never leaves any residue behind after removal.
  • Coating: Both these tapes are made of cloth, but gaffer tape has a vinyl coating and duct tape has a polyethene coating.
  • Finish: Duct tape will provide you glossy finish, whereas you will find no such glossy look in gaffer tape because of the matte finish.
  • Resistance: Gaffer tape is heat resistant, but duct tape is not. On the other hand, duct tape is water-resistant, but gaffer tape is not.
  • Flexibility: You can't have flexibility on gaffer tape as you will have on duct tape. So you can stretch duct tape depending on your need.
  • Tear easily: It's a bit difficult to tear down duct tape than gaffer tape. You can simply tear down a gaffer tape using your hands, but you need a scissor or other cutting tools for tearing duct tape.

Is gaffers tape and electrical tape the same

Nope, gaffers tape and electrical tape are not the same kind of tape. Gaffers tape is used for temporary purposes and mainly in the film industry or photographic arenas. But electrical tape is used to secure electrical cables permanently. Although you can use gaffer tape for hiding cables from the crowds, you can't use it for a longer period.

Electrical tape is made to withstand voltage and temperature, which you can't expect from a tape made of heavy cloth. Gaffers tape is also heat resistant to some extent, but not as electrical tape. Besides, electrical tape will leave residue behind that is not familiar with gaffer tape.

Gaffers tape vs painters tape

Painters tape doesn't leave any residue behind after it is removed, similar to gaffers tape. But it is still different from gaffers tape.

  • Construction: Painters tape is made of paper, backing materials, whereas gaffers tape is made of heavy cloth with a vinyl coating.
  • Low adhesive: None of these tapes leave residue behind after removal, but painter's tape comes with a low adhesive that allows you to use it for a short period. If you use gaffers tape on painting, the painting will come off with the tape when you remove it.
  • Thickness: Using a heavy cloth to make gaffers tape made it thicker than painter's tape.

Concluding words

You know in what circumstances you need to use gaffer tape and why this tape is different from duct tape, electrical tape and painters. Now it's up to you whether you need one or not.

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