The Duct Tape of Film: Gaff Tape and All of Its Wonderful Uses

If it can't be fixed with gaff tape, you're not using enough gaff tape.

Though it hasn't yet been used to make a prom dress (though, if filmmakers had a prom just for them, I'm sure it would be), gaff tape is one of the most useful items you can have on set. It's used to secure wires to the floor, create marks for actors, and about a million other things that you might've never thought of. In this video, filmmaker Robbie Janney of Shutterstock gives you a quick rundown of how you can put gaff tape to good use on your project. Check it out below:

In all honesty, it'd probably be faster to tell you all the things that can't be done or fixed using gaff tape. Traditionally, gaff tape is used to secure cables, whether that means taping them down to the floor or against a stand, to create markers, or attach stuff to stuff, but it's such a multifaceted tool that it's used constantly to do pretty much everything, from spiking tripods to making a DIY follow focus.

It also makes a great label maker for labeling cases, bags, cables, and other gear. Furthermore, it's strong enough to rig almost anything. You can use it to mount a lightweight LED light, mic, or even an action cam to a surface that would otherwise be really tricky and laborious to do with a C-stand.

All experienced filmmaker, DP, or gaffer can regale you with stories of their weirdest gaff tape repair job or DIY gaff tape gear. What are yours? Let us know down in the comments.     

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Your Comment


Only use gaff tape if photo black can't do the job, and only use photo black if masking tape can't do the job.

April 17, 2018 at 8:36PM

Indie Guy

Agree, Gaff tape should be used in only 20% of case only.
Camera tape or masking tape is so much nicer on the support, most of the time not reflective.

April 19, 2018 at 12:33AM

DoP freelance cameraman 4K HK & Shanghai.

Gaff tape really is any techie’s best friend. I use almost everyday at work for something or another. I’ve used it for everything from repairing projector screens that we needed that night to fixing a cracked kick drum’s drum head and bass hole. This is a good source and has given me ideas on new ways to use gaff tape more effectively.

April 18, 2018 at 6:49AM, Edited April 18, 7:06AM

Harrison Wolf
Video Digitization/Audio Engineer/Audiovisual Technician