The Wonders of Gaffer's Tape

In the beginning there was light. Soon after came gaffer's tape. Heating and air conditioning came later. And so did duct tape. Make no mistake--duct tape isn't gaffer's tape. It's not even close. It may be gray but it sticks too hard, melts, tears, dries out, and leaves residue. Here are some common and not-so-common uses for gaffer's tape.

Use gaffer's tape to fasten mics and mic cables to skin or clothing, keep earpiece wires from sneaking into a shot, and prevent power cords from being accidentally kicked or pulled out of a wall outlet. Use it with a Sharpie to make temporary labels for power switches, cables and audio mixers, lens focus marks, name tags for water bottles and marks for talent to stand on.

Gaffer's tape over shipping case latches prevents them from accidentally opening in transit. Use it to secure an umbrella to a lightstand for a hands-free dry zone on a rainy day or wrap it outside-in around your palm to make an excellent lint and animal hair remover. Secure a strip of gaffer's tape sticky side up on a flat surface to hold small parts and prevent them from getting lost when disassembling malfunctioning equipment in the field.

Two narrow strips of gaffer's tape, each wrapped halfway around the perimeter of a stuck screw-in filter will help you remove the filter by applying pressure evenly as you tug with one hand on each of the free ends. Gaffer's tape is also useful for preventing insect bites by taping pants cuffs to your ankles and can be fashioned into an excellent, if somewhat unfashionable, eyeglasses retainer.