“Since I was a kid I’ve heard that “Duct Tape holds the world together.” And I suppose that would still be true for me if I hadn’t gotten into production. There, hanging from nearly everyone’s belt is a roll of gaffer tape. The real meaning of gaffer tape and to the kind of tape it actually refers is as nebulous as glass of hot cocoa. It covers everything from “paper tape” which PAs use to adhere props and cables to walls in such a way that the paint of the location’s surface isn’t removed (this tape is SUPER light adhesive) all the way to the black stuff that you can wrap around your palm and wrist with which you can suspend yourself from the ceiling. Seriously, it’s amazing stuff. Some will tell you that you can discern what kind of gaffer tape a roll is by its color, but that’s nonsense, since you can buy any color of gaffer tape from Amazon in the sticky variety – so you can’t know if “yellow” is the Amazon sticky stuff or the medium tape.
What I get queried a lot about is how Cinema Sound gaffer tape – ie. the stuff I use – is at least twice as sticky as the stickiest gaffer tape. It can barely be taken off the roll, and good luck removing it without ruining whatever was underneath.
It’s a special formula which hasn’t been revealed – until now. And as supporters of Cinema Sound, you get a peek under the hood.
A car analogy is a good one here, because it’s the key for making really sticky gaffer tape. Like good wine, tape must be marinated and aged, and the chemicals and compounds used in gaffer tape are far better for aging than any other kind of tape I know. Buy a bunch of rolls of the stuff and leave it the back window of your car for about 6 months. If you have a hatchback this is made really easy for you. The tape starts “melting” itself to the front coating. If you live in really hot environments like Phoenix, LA or Austin, you’re going to get fabulous results. If you live in the North where it doesn’t get over 85ºF, you can speed things up by slow-baking the tape in the oven. The trouble with doing this is the body of the tape loses a good amount of its structural integrity and the tape can become brittle.
Still, what you’ll end up with is several rolls of gaffer tape that are like nothing else you’ve ever used. I have several rolls on 6 month rotation in the back of my Mazda 3.
These are the kind of production hacks which make life so much easier on set and in post. If you haven’t taken advantage of the 85+ hours of production hacks for immersive audio and sound available in the Cinema Sound Education, do so now.
Oh, and don’t plan on attaching lavaliers to actors’ skin with that stuff…”
Mark Edward Lewis
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