The Essential Tool Box: Richard Patterson Takes Out His Tenba Tools

April 6, 2015

By RF Staff

Sponsored by Tenba Tools

“Long gone are the days when I was a one-bag kind of dude,” says New York City-based shooter Richard Patterson. “If I’ve got just one bag, I’m on vacation.” Patterson started out as a photojournalist before delving into the motion camerawork that fills his schedule with sports, documentary and commercial gigs now.

As any photographer-turned-cinematographer knows, making the leap to digital video means having even more gear to pack, organize and reconfigure for every shoot. “There’s just so much technology to juggle. It’s unbelievable,” he says. “These days when you pack for a job, you have one item and four things to accompany it—the charger, the battery, the wall plug, and the plug for the wall plug to make it into four plugs.”

While he sometimes packs as many as eight to ten cases for a job, the essential kit Patterson carries fits into just a couple bags. “My go-to bags are the Tenba Roadie Large Roller and Roadie II Hybrid that converts into a backpack if needed, which is really comfortable,” he says. “My equipment breaks down to fit between those two very nicely.” To keep everything in them at his fingertips, Patterson uses Tenba Tools pouches and wallets. He gave us a look inside to see how he keeps it all straight.

Patterson Gear Shot Overall
Pictured: Patterson's Tenba collection includes a Transport Air Case (top left), but most of his essential gear fits into his Roadie II Hybrid and Roadie Large Roller (top middle/right).

(1) Tool Box 4
Motion shooting requires lots of batteries and chargers, not only for cameras but also for video lights. Patterson uses Tenba Tool Boxes to keep them all handy for quick changes. “They fit perfectly within the divider dimensions,” he says. “So those are my bags for all my chargers.”

Tenba Tools Box 4B

Tenba Tools Box 4
Picutred: Two Tool Box 4 cases, one for chargers (top) and one for his camera (bottom).

(2) Tool Box 6
Patterson makes his Tool Boxes the top layer when he packs a suitcase or Tenba Air Case to travel for a shoot—and not just for quick access on set. With his gear clearly visible as soon as the bag is opened at the airport, he says, “the TSA agent gets a quick sense of what I do for a living,” which makes everything go more smoothly.

Tenba Tools Box 6
Pictured: Tool Box 6

(3) Cable Duo 8 Cable Pouch
Patterson replaced the mesh hiking bags he used to use for carrying cables and cords with Cable Duo pouches because their size and rigidity make them easy to pack and their clear tops keep everything in view. He quickly realized they’re handy for organizing other small items as well. “In the Duo 8 I’ll keep a DSLR or a GoPro with batteries, a charger, and accessories,” he explains. “It helps keep them available and visible. I keep card readers there too. On the flip side, I’ll keep Allen wrenches and cables.”

Tenba Tools Cable Duo 8B
Pictured: Cable Duo 8 Cable Pouch

(4) Cable Duo 4 Cable Pouch
Although he shoots with larger video cameras and rigs, Patterson also carries a little Sony a7S mirrorless camera for stills and backup. With a Leica Summilux 35mm f/1.4 lens or Metabones adapter mounted, it slips easily into his Cable Duo 4. “I just strip the inside out and the camera fits flush within the dimensions,” he says. “My assistant can see through the top panel and know exactly where it is quickly.”

Tenba Tools Cable Duo 4A
Pictured: Cable Duo 4 Cable Pouch

(5) Reload SD 9 and Reload CF 6 Card Wallets
“I’ve had older wallets that are black or blue,” says Patterson. “If it’s night or you just drop them in your bag, you can freak out when you don’t find them immediately, because leaving without your cards is one of the worst things you can do. But Tenba’s Reload wallets are easy to see.” Patterson also attaches the wallet straps to the internal zipper of his Roadie bag for extra security. And if disaster should actually strike? “There’s a little side pouch for your business card,” says Patterson, “so if you happen to lose the wallet, some kind soul might decide to send it to you.”

Wallet and Roller
Pictured: Reload wallets strapped to Patterson's Roadie roller.

Tenba Tools offers bags tailored for a range of uses, from HDSLR/Video Bags to Mirrorless Camera Bags, GoPro/Action Camera Bags, Car Cases and more. You can put together your essential Tenba Tool collection at