What is Gaffa Tape?

Gaffer tape is an expensive tape which is made up of strong and tensile cotton cloth which is pressure sensitive stuck to the surface by applying pressure.


It has a strong adhesive property and is specifically used in the entertainment industry, in theatres, concerts, motion pictures, live shows and photography.


Most people often mistake duct tape for gaffa tape and there are huge and remarkable differences between them. 


Gaffa tape is a vinyl coated tape with superior adhesive properties and the main difference is that gaffa tape does not reflect light, especially the black matt gaffa tape as it absorbs all the light falling upon it.


On the other hand, duct tapes are simple tapes which are made up of polyethylene coated cloth which makes the tape feel slippery and shiny as they reflect a tremendous amount of light.


In the film industry, lights and camera are the most essential and popular equipment that shows actors in the best light, This happens not only due to the skill of the director but also due to the appropriate amount of light given to the scene. 


The word gaffa was derived from a name of a chief light technician of a popular film crew.


The gaffa adhesive tapes are manufactured in various colours like blue, yellow, green, brown, black, red, fluorescent etc. of which black is the most widely used colour.


It's not that other colour gaffer tapes are useless, but the black matt is most prevalent one because it can be easily concealed when compared to other colours. It also blends easily with the stage and perfectly matches the cables on the stage.


Usually, gaffa tapes are used to line the stage and other light susceptible surfaces because when the camera is focused on that surface the gaffer tape would not reflect the light and so wouldn't make a bad picture.


Tearing this gaffa tape doesn’t require any sort of equipment or tools to cut it, instead our bare hands are enough to do it. 


This gaffa tape can be used along its length to join long linings or when we require a small piece we can also use it by tearing it across with our fingers.


A synthetic or natural adhesive may leave good amount of residue on the surface when peeled. Duct tape due to its strong adhesion leaves little residue when peeled from the surface but this extraordinary gaffa tape does not leave any residue when peeled off so it doesn't damage the materials in comes into contact with.


Additionally, duct tapes are made up of a vinyl coat and it has a rubber adhesion property that melts upon heating and creates huge residues and imperfections when removed. Gaffa tape does not harm the surface and with it's heatproof and waterproof qualities it truly is a versatile tape.


Gaffa tape is not as commercially available as duct tape as it's preferable for most niche industries. This creates high demand thus increasing its price, and so the price of a gaffa tape would be 3 to 4 times that of duct tape.


How to choose the Best Gaffer Tape?


Not all gaffa tape comes with the same quality and there are some cheap quality gaffa tapes that can leave more residue when peeled.