Not to long ago, I noticed an interesting tweet from @ProAdv or better known as Production Advantage, about Shurtapes latest product, P-661 Glowing Gaff Tape. Not long after my re-tweeting, I get an offer from ProAdv about doing a review of the Glowing Gaff Tape. Production Advantage was kind enough to send me a 1″ x 50 yard roll of the new tape. Thanks guys!
You can pick up a roll from any number of the different sizes that Shurtape offers and Production Advantage carries here.
Before I begin the review of the Glowing Gaff Tape, lets take a look at the product description right from Shurtape.
Shurtape® P-661 Glow Gaff
P-661 is a premium gaffer product that glows in the dark! It boasts the same high quality adhesive system as P-665. Therefore, you can be sure it has the same great adhesion and removability. Its excellent conformability allows it to be used on a wide variety of surfaces. Applications for Stage safety are numerous…use it for marking stairs, exits and more! Shurtape® P-661 Glow Gaff is printable and can be die-cut into various shapes or sizes.
The over all feel and texture of the Glowing Gaff Tape is just like that of Shurtapes P-665, Vinyl Coated Gaffer’s Tape. It has a dull finish but has a slightly different textured feel due to the glowing chemicals used in the tape.
In this review, I compared the Shuretape Glow Gaff tape to the industry standard in glow tape, the ProTapes PT 103, Glow Tape at 1″ x 10 yards. With any glow tape, the first thing to do in order to make it glow is to energize it. Meaning we have to shine lights on it so that it may glow in the dark. Pictured in the left side of the photo is ProTapes PT-103. It required much less light to energize compared to the Shurtape P-665. I started with both tapes in the dark over night to lose their glowness. The photo left is after using an LED light to light the tape quick in order to focus the camera on the tapes. Clearly the ProTapes PT-103 required much less light in order to get energized. This could be good in love light levels where no much light is available.
Next thing I looked at was the actual thickness of both rolls of glow tape. If you have ever worked or used the ProTapes PT-103, you may know that it is a little ticker then your standard roll of gaff tape. It is about 4-5 times as thick as a gaff tape and has a little “padding” or foam backing. So it is raised up some compared to the Shurtape P-661. Since the Shurtape P-661 is gaff tape, there is no foam backing or raised edge on it. Why is this important to note? Most times we have to glow tape each step on a staircase either on stage or back stage to help make entrance and exits easier for our actor friends. With a raised edge, an actor may either trip or side their foot just right in order to peal the raised edge off the step.
This brings me to the stickiness of the glow tapes. Again, if you have ever worked with ProTapes PT-103, you know that it is not the stickiest of tapes and most times requires us to tape over the PT-103 with clear tape to help hold it down. This is twice the work and double the tape usage. The Shurtape P-661 has the same stickiness as the P-665 gaff tape and holds up just as well. This eliminates the use of clear tape to help hold down the glow tape.
The next thing that is pretty substantial to note is the tear factor of the tapes. Since the Shurtape P-661 Glowing Gaff tape is just like normal Gaff tape and made of cloth, it is able to tear not only across the tape at any point, but also down the length of the tape. Say we might need just 1/2″ wide piece of tape, we can rip it with our fingers down the length of the P-661. Compare that to the ProTapes PT-103 which requires the use of a knife or scissors, the P-661 tape wins. The ProTapes PT-103 can rip with our fingers, but looking at the photo left, it does not give us a “clean” rip and is quite difficult! Hands down, the Shuretape P-661 Glowing Gaff Tape rip factor is much quicker and easier on the hands and easy of deployment.
The last and most important thing to look at when comparing the Shurtape P-661 and the ProTapes PT-103 is the brightness of glow. The photo to the left shows the Shurtape P-661 on top and the Protapes PT-103 on the bottom. This was take after about one minute under a light to energize the tapes. We can clearly tell that the Shurtape P-661 out shines the Protapes PT-103 in brightness. But what about longevity? After about an hour after being energized and left in a dark room for about an hour, the Shurtape P-661 still was out glowing the ProTapes PT-103 which you can tell from the last photo in the gallery at the bottom of this article. Does this mean that the Shurtape P-661 is better then the ProTapes PT-103 glow tape? We’ll let you decide the out come there.
There are some additional things to think about when it comes to glow tape as well as some tips and tricks. I used a black fine point sharpie to write on both rolls of tape and just like I expected, both rolls took the sharpie with no problem. Although, since the ProTapes PT-103 has a smoother coating, there was a little bit of smudging action, but nothing serious.
To energize glow tape on stage is a pretty easy thing to do. Before the run of an performance, lights should be required to perform a lamp check, thus bringing all the lights on stage to check for burn outs. This does two things at once, not only does it help to check for lamps, but at the same time energizes your glow tape on stage. Your stage manager will love you for this as it does not require them to run around stage with a flash light to energize all the glow tape.
Another thing to think about is that during a performance, your glow tape with re-energize as well. So the longevity of the glow tape lasting through a black out or between intermission might no be as critical. Both of these tapes should be able to last long enough during black outs or dark periods on stage for our actor friends to get around safely.
Have a tip or trick with glow tape that I have missed here or have something to say? Let me know if the comments section of this review. I love to hear feed back as well as new and different uses.