We’ve been more than a little surprised at how much mention gaffers tape gets on Facebook. There are multiple groups, mostly made of those in the audio visual and entertainment industries who post the best and worst (okay, they are almost all “worst”) examples of doing things like gaffing cables to the floor and making repairs.
If you want a little comic relief before/after you spend thirty minutes taping your show down, check out some of these groups:
Many years ago we started offering a 5% discount on orders that roughly matched the cost of a case of gaffers tape. Get a whole case and get 5% off.
The discount was based on the cost of gaffers tape, but applied to any mix of products. The cost of a roll of gaffers tape has increased several times since then, but the discount has remained the same in order to insure that if you got a case of tape you got the discount.
What we did not realize at the time was how often that 5% savings roughly matched up to the shipping cost. That was not our intention, but it had a nice synergy of its own.
Obviously that does not apply to every order, since the cost of shipping to a North Carolina address is much less than an address in Arizona, but on average it has continued to be true.
Yes, we do not offer free shipping, but if you place a $300 (or more) order then you might just get “free” shipping anyway.
One of the things that surprised me when I looked at our Google search results was how often someone searched for “gaffa tape”.
We’ve been selling gaffers tape for almost 30 years, and I have been using it my entire professional life. Thousands of shows with hundreds of different techs, and I don’t think that I have ever heard anyone use the term “gaffa”.
No idea if this is a regional thing, something that is specific to one subset of the production industry or just the way some people say gaffer, but with a soft (very soft?) “r”.
Gaffa, gaff, gaffer or gaffer. If it’s tape, we’ve got it, no matter how you say it.
Recent responses to an older blog posting about using XLR connectors on speaker cables caught me by surprise. It got me thinking about how ongoing evolution in this connector system has allowed it to stay relevant through generation after generation of audio development.
The XLR connector was first developed by James Cannon at ITT and was introduced to the audio market in 1958. Amazingly, through all the changes in connector standards and component wiring, the XLR is still the audio standard for microphone and patch cables.
One reason for its long life is that the basics of the design, much
like good computer software design, have moved into the public domain.
Anyone who has a better idea can bring their own version of the XLR
connector to market.
A simple innovation developed by the Switchcraft company is an example of this design concept.
Cannon’s design for the XLR was for a round connector-a good idea
since it fit well to a round cable and allowed the cable to be dragged
along the floor without catching and tangling. Cannon’s concept called
for both round body connectors on the cable and a round body “chassis
mount” connector-the mating female connector found on the equipment or
multicable box that the cable connector mated with.
A simple innovation by Switchcraft-changing the body shape of the
panel mount connector from round to rectangular-meant that more
connectors could be mounted side-by-side in a confined space since they
could now fit edge to edge. You can see the value of that design change
today by comparing a contemporary audio mixer to one built in the
1960’s or ’70’s.
Many minds contributing to the evolution of the XLR connector means
that it will remain the audio industry standard for many years to come.
Audio and video pros who have all sorts of random “how to wire it” data rolling around in their heads and on countless scraps of paper can now turn the task over to their smart phone. No need to even pretend that you remember how to wire all the cables in their work boxes.
This free app (available both for iPhone and android devices)
provides diagrams for all the popular audio and video connectors that
you might expect to encounter during a day at work.
In addition to common connectors like XLR3 and Speakon, it also includes data connectors, Socapex multicables, HDMI and networking, all diagrammed in an easy to read format.
Just enter “pinouts” in your apps search field. It’s also available on the desktop. Just take a look at allpinouts.org.
Gaffers tape is known and used world wide when hands on showbiz techs need a strong tape with an adhesive that comes up clean. There is no substitute.
However, there does appear to be a substitute name. The British (some Americans, too) call this product “gaffa’ tape.
Regardless of the actual spelling of the name, the root comes from a British slang term for grandfather. The term came into use in the early days of film when the crew that handled heavy lighting and electrical equipment came to be known as gaffers .