Lighting and sound enhances a sermon and can add dimension to a Sunday morning worship service. As an enhancer to the worship experience, technical production provides the background of the service or event.
As long as no one takes a spill on the labyrinth of cables used to create this visual masterpiece, and provided the technical equipment is operating correctly, then the event is considered a victory.
And to secure those loose cables, there is tape. Lots of it!
When focusing on production needs the recommended tape of choice is gaffers tape. Unlike duct tape, gaffers tape leaves no mess and has a matte appearance.
Below is a guide to taping, so that every church event runs flawlessly.
Peel adhesion, also known as the pull force required to remove a pressure sensitive tape, is important when it comes to securing cables.
Peel adhesion ranges on a scale of around 4 (e.g. a Post It note) to 400 (e.g. a VHB doublesided structural mounting tape) ounces per inch.
When looking at peel adhesion the surface is the first factor to consider. For carpet you would want a gaffers tape with at least 50 ounces per inch of peel adhesion (similar to that of a standard duct tape). When it comes to hard floors you can use a gaffers with less adhesion. The reason for this is higher surface energy substrates like metal and finished hardwood are easier to adhere to.
If all you need to do is mark a stage, and not secure cables or wires, then a gaffers tape with adhesion as low as around 30 ounces per inch would be fine (like that of a standard crepe paper masking tape). Another thing to consider is if you need to move your cables or wires around after the tape has been applied. Cable path or wire line tape only has adhesive coated along the top and bottom edges of the tape (not on the entire strip of tape). This will still prevent a cable from being tripped over but also allows the cable to be pulled through the tape, allowing connected equipment to be moved. Cable path tape also allows for an easier removal since less adhesive is coming into contact with the surface area of the floor.
Longitudinal tensile strength refers to a tapes ability to withstand force or stress or, in other words, how hard you can pull on the tape before it breaks apart this is different than transverse or tear strength. It is another important factor to consider when selecting tape. Gaffers with higher tensile strength (around 60 pounds per inch) will hold up longer to wear and tear than say a gaffers with only 40 pounds per inch of tensile strength.
Higher tensile strength gaffers tape will feel stiffer and not as flimsy as lower. These higher tensile strength gaffes tapes also work great for bookbinding applications since they hold up to repeated openings and closings of the book or pamphlet spine.
What color does the tape need to be?
Some events call for a standard black, gray or white tape, doing its job while not calling attention to itself. For others, florescent colors are a must in order to be visual reminders of where cables lie. And of course, sometimes color is just more fun.
Another criterion that coincides with color is the finish of the tape. Typically for most events a matte finish is preferred. A glossy tape can cause lights to reflect and be disruptive. Since gaffers tape is vinylcoated cloth (not like duct tape which is shiny or glossy polyethylene coated cloth) it has a matte appearance. You can still purchase lowgloss duct tape for a more economical approach; however, it typically would not remove as -adhesive -residue free like a true gaffers.
Finally, you want to ensure that the tape you have is wide enough to secure a cable. For thicker power cables you would want to go with a tape at least 3 inches wide in order to have more surface area to bond to. For thinner wires a standard 2" gaffers is fine. For stage spiking or marking most customers
use 12" wide gaffers tape which is also referred to as spike tape. Also for tripping purposes it's always better to tape the entire length of the cable instead of use short strips perpendicular to the cable.
For any event having a variety of tape widths is best.
Kevin Mahoney is the president of FindTape.com, a supplier of all kinds of adhesive tape ranging from gaffers tape to athletic tape to painters tape to industrial doublesided tape. FindTape.com features an Advanced Tape Finder that lets customers choose the attributes that matter most and guides them to the tape that best fits their unique needs.