Hack 15 Gaffer's Tape When All Else Fails

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Sometimes, there just isn't an adapter to hook things together elegantly. Does that mean you don't get the shot? Hardly! That's when you reach for the gaffer's tape.

Gaffer's tape, shown in Figure 1-16, has been used on Hollywood movie sets for decades. It's known by brand as Permacel P-665. This versatile cloth-backed black tape allows you secure just about anything, from an abused camera bag to a misbehaving reflector that just won't stay in place. What's remarkable about gaffer's tape, and what makes it superior to other alternatives, is that the adhesive doesn't leave a residue on your equipment. So you can strap your camera to a street sign's pole, take a series of pictures, and then peel the tape off without a trace of evidence.

Figure 1-16. Gaffer's tape

Gaffer's tape comes in one-, two-, three-, and four-inch-wide rolls. Because it's cloth-backed, however, you can peel it off in straight strips, creating any width you need for the job. Often, I'll peel off a number of strips and hang them off an edge of a table before I start working, just to keep them handy.

The black backing also makes this tape useful for blocking out stray light and eliminating reflections off metal surfaces. You can use it to hold power cords in place, tape them to the floor so that people won't trip over them, and even hold down the edge of curled-up carpet.

One full roll costs about US$15. But unless you're running a full-time studio, it will probably last you for years. And you'll sing its praises every time it bails you out of a jam.