7 Creative Things to Do With Gaff Tape
Gaff tape can be used for so much more than fixing cables to the ground. Here are some other ways you can use this sticky filmmaking staple.
Gaffer’s tape, gaff tape, camera tape, spike tape. Whatever you call it, don’t call it duct tape. Gaff tape is the most common tool you will see on set.
The tape is made with a heavy cotton cloth, rather than vinyl or plastic. The adhesive used in gaff tape is more heat resistant, making it popular among lighting technicians. Unlike duct tape, gaff tape wont leave a residue when it’s removed.
1. Make a space bra.
Image from starwars.com
When George Lucas was filming the original Star Wars, he told actress Carrie Fisher that “there’s no underwear in space.” That meant Princess Leia couldn’t wear anything more than her hair buns and white robe. To keep the film PG, Fisher had to wear makeshift pasties made out of gaff tape.
2. Save your footage from being formatted.
Did you just pull a full memory card out of the camera? Put a strip of red gaff tape on it to prevent it from going back into the camera. Keep that card taped until you dump the footage. If you put the card inside a case, tape the case shut. This is an easy way to help you keep track of your cards.
3. Salvage your shoes.
Did you get a hole in your sole? Maybe your shoes are squeaking too much. Put some gaff tape over the bottom of your shoes to help quiet them.
Did you wear white shoes when you are only allowed to wear black ones? Start taping your whole shoe. Gaff tape won’t leave any residue, so your shoes will still be white when you take the tape off.
4. DIY tracking points.
Will you be using motion tracking when you edit? Make some cross hairs with two pieces of gaff tape. You can even put gaff tape on light stand, like in this VFX breakdown from Jean-Baptiste Lefournier for the Beat Assailant music video RUN.
You can see more breakdowns like this over at RocketStock.com.
5. Cover your built in laptop camera.
Maybe you don’t trust your computer after you accidentally streamed your whole face to a hotel conference while trying to fix an issue at an event. A little gaff tape won’t hurt the screen. You’re on your own when it comes to the microphone.
6. Mark your gear.
Keeping track of your own gear and rentals can be a hassle. Gaff tape comes in multiple colors. Color code your cameras and gear to make sure everything goes back to its rightful owner.
7. Gaff tape on the go.
Image from Strobist
Now that you know some cool tricks for using gaff tape, make sure you always have some on you. You might not have room for an entire roll, but you can easily have some in your pocket.
Have an old gift card or hotel room key? Wrap a foot or two of gaff tape around it. One of the coolest tricks can be found in this tutorial from Strobist. Learn how to make a gaffer’s tape key fob. All you need is a paper clip and pencil to carry 40 inches of gaff tape with you everywhere.
Need more cheap gear to help stay organized on set? Then check out these articles from PremiumBeat
- 7 Tricks for Keeping Your Camera Equipment Organized
- 12 Essential Filmmaking Tools Under $20
- 4 Cheap Practical Lights That Can Work Wonders On Set
Know of any other tape tips that we missed? Have any tricks of your own? Let us know in the comments below.