Over the years, people have been developing numerous tools to help them fix broken items. At some point in your life, you must have been amazed by how useful is duct tape around the house, right? But not all things can be fixed with it. What if I told you that there is something even better than duct tape? Not in all fields of activity, but people in photography and film making are all over this. If you do not know what I am talking about by now, I am referring to gaffer tape.
Camarm Gaffer Tape
used by almost all film makers and photographers
does not require scissors
ideal for basic things
Calumet Gaffer Tape
ideal for photographers
matte black finish
tearing it is easy
Pro Tapes Premium Fluorescent Gaffer Tape
highly resistant vinyl coated cloth tape
waterproof, heat resistant, abrasion resistant
What is gaffer tape?
If you do not know what that is, let me enlighten you. Gaffer tape is also called gaff tape, and it is different than other tapes by presenting an extra adhesive property. You think duct tape is extremely adhesive? You should see gaffer tape. Moreover, you can peel it off without leaving any traces of adhesive behind. It is very common in fields of communication, and some people use it even in the industrial field.
Gaffer tape is very easy to use, and it is compact. It has gained quite the popularity over the years, and even if people have been using it to make a quick fix, it has other purposes as well. For example, you can secure cables or make reliable reattachments. Trust me, you can play with it as you please. It is quite enjoyable, and the fix is reliable. What more can you want from a roll of tape?
Duct tape vs. Gaffer tape – which is better?
There is no way of saying. Sure, duct tape will get you out a lot of pickles, so to speak, but sometimes it is not enough. That is why I thought that a comparison between the two may come in handy. So here is what makes gaffer tape different from duct tape.
- The adhesive – while both of them are extremely adhesive, one more than the other, there is a difference in the type of adhesive that each of the tapes has. Duct tape uses a permanent or a semi-permanent adhesive. That makes it ideal for long-lasting repairs that you need to do on the spot. You know what they say: when in doubt, use some duct tape. Gaffer tape, on the other hand, uses a removable adhesive. That is why it is suitable for temporary fixes, and it is the best solution for surfaces that you do not want to be damaged underneath the tape. This type of tape is ideal for trade shows when people mark their spots on the floor, and the people in the entertainment business use gaffer tape to mark positions on stage.
- Tearing – both duct tape and gaffer tape are pretty resilient, but they can still be torn by hand. However, there is more than one type of duct tape. Some designs have some extra reinforcement, which is why you will need some scissors to cut it.
- Resistance to elements – when I say elements I am referring mostly to heat and water because those are the most important. Duct tape is water proof and weather resistant. However, when it comes to heat, it is not ideal. What happens is that in high temperatures, duct tape becomes somewhat gummy. It will either slide or dry very fast, which will make it useless. Gaffer tape, unlike duct tape, is water resistant and it is capable of resisting high temperatures. That is why many people use it to secure cables and props that are exposed to sunlight or hot lights.
- Flexibility – when it comes to flexibility, the two kinds of tape are different. Duct tape is very flexible and extremely easy to stretch, which makes it ideal for situations when you have to hug items with irregular shapes. Gaffer tape, though, it is not as flexible, and you can only use it when you need it to hold its shape.
- Finish – both tapes come in various colors, but the most common is matte black.
- Cost –duct tape is a lot cheaper than gaffer tape, which allows you to use it on anything, but gaffer tape is three times more expensive. That is why people use it only when they need the particular properties of gaffer tape.
When can you use gaffer tape?
As I mentioned above, gaffer tape is mostly used in photography and film making. It is very useful, and those who know how to utilize it, get a lot of benefits from it. Here are a few interesting uses of gaffer tape.
- You can make a cheap view finder shield – when you are trying to take photos in nature, you can use a very small piece of gaffer tape to cover your view finder. That will provide a better preview of the shot, and at the same time, during a long exposure, it will prevent light leaks.
- You can secure cables – while in the studio, the last thing you need is to trip on a cord or cable. Use some gaffer tape to secure the cords to the floor, and that way you will be in a safe environment. You can even use a bright color so that you can step over them.
- Lighting settings – if you have been working in a particular studio for a while, then you must have a set up for your lights. Then you have to put them away. However, when you have to use the same lighting, you do not remember the exact spot where the lights were perfect. No problem. Use gaffer tape to mark the spot. That way you will have perfect lighting every single time without having to move the lights around.
- Never lose your remote control again – photographers lose their tethered remote control very often. Use a piece of gaffer tape to attach the excess cable to the tripod, and you will never have this problem again.
- Identification – when there are many photographers in the same place, chances are that there is a huge pile of gear bags. In order not to lose yours, use a piece of white gaffer tape and write your name on it. Stick it to your gear bag to trace it easily.
- Secure the backdrop – every studio has seamless backdrops. Sometimes it may get wrinkled because it is not secured into position. However, if you use some gaffer tape, you can secure it and prolong the backdrops lifespan. You can save some money that way.
Of course, these are a just a few suggestions, but gaffer tape has various uses. You can get creative and do with it as you will. It is versatile, not very expensive, and it can save you some trouble at times.
What is the best gaffer tape?
It would be a lie to say that there is only gaffer tape that tops them all. There are several manufacturers that can provide high-quality gaffer tape at good prices. If you do not know which one to choose, you will find below three examples. Surely one will prove to be the best gaffer tape for you.
Camarm Gaffer Tape
The gaffer tape from Camarm is the classic tape used by almost all film makers and photographers. It has many uses in a studio, but you can use it at home for different jobs. Many people bought this product, and according to online reviews, it works like a charm. It is a simple thing, but it is brilliant in certain situations. You can use it to secure cables at home, and even to repair and protect windows.
This gaffer tape does not require scissors or any other hand tool for tearing. You can simply tear it by hand. It is a powerful tape, but it is fragile enough if you know how to tear it. The best thing about it that it does not leave any residue behind when you peel it off. After all, that is the whole point of a gaffer tape, is it not?
As far as finish is concerned, this tape is ideal for basic things, so if you need to use it for something pretty, I suggest you buy one with another finish. This one has a sheen matte finish that not everyone likes. It is also moisture and heat resistant. You can leave it in the sun or under a bright light for hours, it will not dry or become gummy. This roll contains 40 yards of tape, and it has 2 inches in width. It should be enough for quite some time. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
Calumet Gaffer Tape
If you are looking for a less wide roll of gaffer tape, then this is what you are looking for. It is ideal for photographers. According to some reviews I found online about this product, buyers are more than satisfied with their purchase. It is a classic black gaffer tape that will save you a lot of trouble in the studio and not only.
As I said, this gaffer tape has a matte black finish. If you have ever wondered why the black is matte, it is like that to minimize reflection. If by any chance, you are using this tape in a studio, the last thing you need is wandering reflexions in your shot. This gaffer tape will not do that to you. If you know what you are doing, you will not even see it in your shots.
The adhesive of this tape is very strong, but at the same time, you can remove it without leaving any residue behind. Tearing it is easy, you do not need a pair of scissors or a cutter. All you have to do is use your hands. One of the complaints about this product is that the roll is too big for travel. There are 60 years on the roll with a 1-inch width. However, I do not find that as a flaw, but more of a practical thing. You do not have to buy gaffer tape too many times. Other than that, this is an excellent product. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
Pro Tapes Premium Fluorescent Gaffer Tape
The old matte black gaffer tape is not the only one available. It was a few years back, but now, manufacturers released various colors. I think it is a nice touch, and the colors are vivid. The gaffer tape from Pro Tapes comes in various neon colors that you will love. All you have to do is a pick a color or purchase multiple rolls of different colors. Your choice.
The Pro Tapes gaffer tape is a highly resistant vinyl coated cloth tape. It may come in various colors, but the finish is still matte to eliminate reflexions. It is highly adhesive, but after you peel it off, there will be no residue left behind. The adhesive is a synthetic rubber resin that has been tested on a stainless steel panel, and it has an adhesion of 80 ounces per inch. The tape is waterproof, heat resistant, abrasion resistant, and the unwind can be controlled. You do not need scissors to cut it or any other hand tool. You can just tear it with your hands.
You can use this tape on various occasions and for many purposes. The roll comes with 50 yards of gaffer tape, 1 inch wide. However, even this is a fluorescent tape, it will not glow in the dark. So, if that is what you are expecting, do not be too disappointed. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
Of course, every photographer, film maker, or a regular person will buy the gaffer tape he or she needs. It depends on the necessity. However, if I had to choose one model that I like, I would go with the Pro Tapes Premium Fluorescent Gaffer Tape. It is just as useful and functional as the matte black gaffer tape, but it has those vivid colors that make everything brighter. Not for the camera, but for the eyes. That is why I believe it is the best gaffer tape money can buy.
No matter what you want to do with it, a roll of gaffer tape is useful around the house and in the studio. You can do lots of things with it, and it can sometimes solve some simple issues that duct tape cannot handle. No matter which of the above you choose to buy, you will be satisfied with its use. Click here to buy on Amazon
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