Tenba – The Bags I’ve Trusted To Transport $250k+ Of Gear Across The Globe

The Importance Of Traveling Light And Secure

When you travel as often as I do, with as much gear as we often are transporting, you really start to value both lightweight and versatile designs for gear bags, and those that that don’t compromise protection and quality.  We’ve flown 150,000 miles this year on Project AIR which is scary.

For me, Tenba XL attaché roller cases have become incredibly useful on the AIR project. I’ve used two to 3 of them throughout the Air Tour, one contains all of our BTS video gear, including C300, lenses and audio gear as well as back up drives. The other contains our Kenyon gyros for stabilized shooting at night.











I have another two of these Attache rollers at home, one housing my RED Epic and the other containing my dedicated time lapse kit.

So – why Tenba? Two main reasons:

– Protection – these attaches are absolutely rock solid. We’ve had our Project Air BTS video case go through 8 legs so far, in the hold each time. The BTS case contains lots of glass and camera gear and it’s all been transported without issue.    The sturdy handle, solid wheels, and Fedex label pouch on the exterior are also perfect editions to an otherwise stellar case.

– Weight – we have 10 pieces of hold luggage for each leg of this journey. We have weighed each item to make sure it’s within weight limits because after paying up to $1000 a leg for excess baggage, you really don’t want to pay the excess weight too! These gear bags are being lifted for transport into vans and often carried, so a lighter starting point is always better.

Tenba also make a fantastic, low profile backpack called the Shootout. It’s a 14L sized pack that can hold up to 4 Go Pros (we currently are using 3 GoPro 4s as main BTS cameras for internal aircraft shots, as well as 1 Go Pro 3+ which is a back up). I’ve been using this not just for Go Pros but also for a low profile and sturdy solution to transporting my cameras and  lenses and accessories when I’m traveling and doing some shooting in cities on the ground.

Like Tenba’s HDDSLR bag which Dave my BTS video guy is using, it’s incredibly comfortable and fantastically designed so that everything stays where it should and provides easy access to the gear I need when I need it.  In fact – this backpack has become my GO TO BAG for almost all of 2015 – I carry my 12″ MacBook in it, and hard drives and/or a basic DSLR kit or Leica / Fuji X100 kit, and even a Hasselblad 503 with 2-3 lenses.  This is an EXTREMELY versatile bag due to the enclosed pouches that you can VELCRO inside and create natural partitions.









From the manufacturer:

Tenba has been building industry-leading hard cases for rental houses, studios and professionals for over 35 years, and the cases are still made the same way today, using ballistic and cordura nylon, YKK® zippers, seatbelt-grade webbing, welded-steel D-rings, and the most reinforced stitching that any bag has ever seen.

The Transport collection includes Air Case, Tenba’s patented shipping case that provides the protection of a hard case at a fraction of the weight. Air Cases are available in sizes and configurations to fit Apple Mac Pro Towers, 27-inch iMacs and Cinema Displays, Eizo monitors, Profoto, Broncolor and similar professional lighting systems, and every conceivable camera system in the world. They can be shipped, checked as luggage, flown, driven, sat on and stood on, and they will continue to protect the world’s greatest equipment.

TENBA SHOOTOUT is a comprehensive collection of sling bags and backpacks designed from the ground up for serious outdoor imaging. Each bag is built with the absolute best materials and hardware for all-season protection under the most extreme weather conditions. And innovative features throughout give you fast access to your equipment so you never miss a shot.

Shootout backpacks feature unique side pods that allow access to cameras and lenses without removing the shoulder harness, plus they include Tenba’s exclusive Multi-stage tripod carrier. And the sling bag offers the industry’s only rear access panel to maximize the interior layout and organization of camera equipment.

Each bag is made with water-repellant nylon, weather-sealed and rubberized YKK® zippers, Duraflex® clips, heavily reinforced stitching and expedition-grade harnesses and shoulder straps.


On another note, I’m EXTREMELY excited to announce that we just sent the final files to the printer for the  AIR book!   We’re looking at shipping the books in very early November – to find out more about the book or lithographs,visit



Directing Motion Australia Is LIVE! July 2015 Sydney & Melbourne.


Thanks to incredible support by RODE Microphones and Atomos, I’m EXTREMELY excited to announce I’ll be traveling to Australia next month to deliver brand new, 2 day Sydney and Melbourne ‘Directing Motion’ workshops that aim to raise the bar from the successful US tour in 2014.


Sydney Workshop details and tickets – click here

Melbourne Workshop details and tickets – click here




Last year, I hit the road with MZed, and delivered the Directing Motion tour to over 3500 attendees across more than 30 cities in the US. It was an incredible experience, and we had a truly international audience with people flying in from all around the world to attend, and extremely positive feedback across the board. Without a doubt, the number one question I have received since then has been, “When are you taking Directing Motion international?”.

The two most requested countries have been the UK and Australia. Thanks to Philip Bloom and his Shadow and Light workshop earlier this year, I got the opportunity to deliver some of the concepts from Directing Motion to a UK audience. It was a fantastic event, I hope to be back there soon to deliver more of the experience.

Now, I get the opportunity to bring the full Directing Motion experience, PLUS an even more extended practical program, to Australia.




The main focus I wanted to build into this next iteration of Directing Motion is separation between the theoretical and real-world examples of my own commercial career that I will discuss, AND the practical work that goes into the construct, shoot and edit of a particular piece. It was very obvious that not everyone who attended Directing Motion was a film maker, or even a photographer. Some people just were deeply interested in cinema and the analysis behind camera moves. I want to make sure that I can cover the full spectrum, from those who are full time professionals and those who are just curious about why their favorite directors shoot and produce work in the way that they do.

This is why I’ve decided to offer up a 2 day workshop – with the option to attend either Day 1 or Day 2, or for those quick enough, a chance to grab a combo ticket at a reduced price for entry to both.

Day 1 will focus on the theory behind how, when and most importantly why we move the camera, as well as how we direct the action in front of the lens. It is a complete stand-alone presentation that takes you through all of the theory from the Directing Motion workshop, including my own experiences with some of the biggest commercial jobs I’ve delivered over the years. If you’re a photographer yet to explore the world of motion, Day 1 will be a perfect way to become familiar with the concepts that we use in the world of motion.

Day 2 is a new component focusing on the practical side, where I’ll take you through an entire day of how I plan, manage, shoot and edit a job that will highlight a local artist that we’ll showcase through a short film. We’ll be using REDs, MoVIs, sliders, cinema glass – it really promises to be a very fun day, and one which I know we’ll all learn from with the focus firmly on how the practical elements we go through can apply to your own work and projects.

My main motivation for you attending either day – whether you’re a photographer or film maker – is to simply be able to apply the learning directly to your own work as quickly as possible. Whether it’s a narrative piece, a wedding, a corporate shoot or a commercial spot, I want you to feel you’ve got a better grasp of why you are moving the camera – and critically – how best to engage and keep the attention of your audience through your work, which is the number one challenge we ALL face today, in the distraction age, where attention spans are measured in seconds.

It was a couple of years ago when I was last in Australia and I am EXTREMELY excited to be returning. I hope to meet as many of you as I can while I’m out there. More info can be found on the workshop site.





Project AIR Workflow

Project AIR workflow from Vincent Laforet on Vimeo.


For many of us, workflow is the least “sexy” part of any photo or video project.   That is until you find yourself waiting forever for a copy to finish as those minutes and hours eat into the few hours of sleep you will get that night/morning…  or worse:  when you run out of time, and you take a shortcut (because you have to leave a location, or simply need to get some sleep) and you fail to make a redundant copy… and disaster strikes.

There are MANY ways that you can lose critical data:  it can be human error (have you ever deleted some original images by mistake – I have: one was an entire job in fact… recovery can be painfully long, stressful and far from guaranteed.)   Then there are the obvious dangers of impact, spills, power issues (power loss or spikes during a copy) data corruption from software,  and finally hardware failure.

If you only have ONE copy of your data, it takes just one careless mistake (a TSA person dropping a drive, which I’ve seen) or a spilled coffee or software crash to eliminate a days or weeks or months worth of work – work that is often irreplaceable and near priceless.   That is one of the reasons you always want to have a second copy of all of your originals safely PHYSICALLY ISOLATED from all of your other data, and from your work in progress.


Therefore I thought I would share some of  the ins and outs of our workflow and data management on this project “AIR“, given the huge amount of time, planning and coordination that goes behind an international project such as AIR.

Each city that we photograph is preceded by weeks to months of coordination, and requests for special permission to fly over some of the most venerable cities in Europe.   In the case of Berlin, the request went all the way to the Berlin Senate for example.

Clearly on this project (if not ANY project)  DATA LOSS IS NOT AN OPTION.

The workflow video above also sets out how we configured our set up on location at the Barcelona heliport on this project.



Three Golden Rules To Workflow:

First – the project is generating a fair amount of data.  For 6K shooters out there, it may not seem like much, but for still photographers we are shooting quite a large amount of data close to 750GBs on each shoot.    We are shooting video  with the  Canon C300,  3 x GoPro 4s  and 2x Canon 1DXs and the large 50mp files from the Canon 5DS – before you know it, you have a sizeable amount of data to manage from the first of two or three flights over each city.

Most importantly:  the data is unusually valuable given the amount of expenses involved in capturing it, not to mention what might be the “once in a lifetime” permissions we are getting from certain cities to fly directly over them.

Therefore RELIABILITY and REDUNDANCY is the key to success.  Always have MULTIPLE copies of your data in SEVERAL PLACES – that is rule number one.   Never EVER have one single copy of your work.   You are begging for a disaster.


Second – SPEED is an essential part of this project and big part of why we use the G-Technology drives that are some of the fastest on the market – using Thunderbolt 2 & USB 3.0.

The speed at which we need to turn images around can be critical.   In Europe, it was not uncommon to edit an 8,000-9,000 frame shoot on Saturday.   To shoot the following city Sunday.  And to complete final edit of BOTH of those cities (nearly 18,000 RAW frames) the following day just hours prior to a release of selects to the press and to the public.

With each city, I’m shooting an average 9,000 frames in approximately 3 hours of flight – we are forced to shoot in the high speed drive mode on our cameras,  as vibration is an ever present enemy with the low shutter speeds we are using at night.   For every hour that I shoot in the air,  I generally spend 4-7 hours on the initial pass of editing and even more when you take into account the second, third, and color correction pass.

All of this work results in a series of 35-40 images to publish on Storehouse, and 12 master images for each city.    Therefore the speed of the drives is absolutely critical.  A drive that is half as fast will double the amount of time that I spend behind a computer.

Also, keep in mind the other often overlooked point about the speed of drives:  slower drives = more time waiting at the end of the day 0n set for the DIT to copy the data… slower drives = fewer likely copies and therefore a much greater chance of shortcuts being taken, and ultimately the loss of critical footage or images.


The third golden rule is DISCIPLINE and/or building in FAILSAFES into your workflow.     Doing multiple copies in the first faze of your ingesting of data is critical.   You never want to have just ONE copy of the data at any time.   But setting up the correct workflow blueprint that ensures this failsafes if key.

Here is an example of our workflow visually below, followed by it being spelled out in written form step by step:




Our first target is a 512GB SSD inside of a Gtech EV Dock.    The second target is a 16TB Thunderbolt G-RAID drive set to RAID 1 for added redundancy, as each of the two disks within the RAID has an identical copy of the data.

We use Shot Put Pro to copy the camera media across, and a Lexar modular HR2 hub to off load 3 CF cards (all San Disk 128GB Extreme Pro cards) and 3 Micro SD (all SanDisk 64GB Extreme PLUS cards from the Go Pros) simultaneously.



























At this point we have 4 copies of the data:  the original disks, the SSD, and the two drives within the GRAID.

The second to last step is to upload the selects from each shoot once at our hotel to the cloud –  those files automatically sync back down to two 64TB Studio XLs,  one in Los Angeles and another in NYC.
Our final step is to Fedex a 1TB Thunderbolt ATC with ALL of the data back to the office.
That results in a total of SEVEN copies – 1 on the cloud, 4 locally, and 2 back in two separate offices in the US.  (All spread out over time, and in several stages obviously.)

Because there are 3 of us on the project team, we have 3 separate copies in 3 separate hotel rooms (physical locations) and regardless of the team’s size, I always have a minimum of 2 copies with two different people no matter how small the job.  

Some might call this excessive but if you’re working in digital photography and/or video and you’ve ever experienced the loss of data on a job, let alone with family photos which can be even more valuable to many of us than any job, your perspective will quickly change!    

Always remember that if you only have ONE copy of your data,  it’s unfortunately a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ data corruption or loss will happen to you.   Every single drive (spinning or SSD) has a life expectancy range.    Impacts, data corruption, power losses or surges WILL happen.   And those can be fatal to any drive in existence today.

I’ve had an extremely good track record with G-Technology for all my data storage needs both in terms of reliability, but I’ve come to depend on them just as much given the workflow they allow me to adopt, and the speed of their drives.

Below you can see an illustration of the above – that has somewhat changes since we’ve landed in Europe (some of the quantities and numbers have slightly changed which is expected.)





Below is a detailed breakdown of the hardware and software that comprises the entire basis of Project AIR’s work flow:


G-DRIVE ev ATC with Thunderbolt (1 TB)Vincentlaforet_gtech_workflow_ATC

G-DRIVE ev SSD (512 GB)


 G-RAID with Thunderbolt 2 (16TB)

Vincentlaforet_gtech_workflow_GRAID2 Vincentlaforet_gtech_workflow_GRAID1

 G-DOCK ev with Thunderbolt


G-SPEED Studio XL with Thunderbolt (64TB)




Editing / Post-Processing:

Adobe Lightroom is the software that I do my initial editing in.   I use DxO OpticsPro post-production software to manage the noise caused by shooting at such high ISOs.

Editing is a 10:1 factor on shooting time – for every hour of shooting, I end up spending about 10 hours editing the photos.  A tremendous amount of work goes into image selection as I review each frame a 1:1 to ensure that each is sharp and not victim to image blur from the helicopter vibration . Were the drives half as fast, we’d be at 20:1, which would just kill us on the road with our tight turnaround times.

Our retoucher does all of the finishing work to make the photos ready for online viewing, the AIR book, and other media.

Hope this was useful, would love to hear how you are managing your data, drop me a comment here or connect to me on Twitter or Facebook and let me know.

To find out more about Project AIR or to support it, and enable us to photograph more cities in the future, you can pre-oder the AIR book, or purchase postcards, lithographs, and fine art prints now at    If you’d like