Rigging Up the Pocket 6K from Scratch

As far as compact, powerful cinema cameras go, the Blackmagic Design Pocket 6K is still the one to beat. Unfortunately, for getting that much camera at such a low price you are getting something with a less-than-ideal form factor for serious productions.

You need to rig it up. Coming from Chadwin Smith, this video will take you from a bare camera to ready-to-shoot shoulder rig in no time at all. So, let’s dive right in.

Being that you have to start somewhere, a SmallRig cage and a Manfrotto quick-release plate with two screws to prevent rotation are core to this setup. On top, there is a Samsung T5 SSD for recording. The SmallRig SSD Mount is a beautiful solution for that.

For lenses, Smith uses the Rokinon Cine DS series, specifically he uses the 24mm T1.5 since it give you a 38mm equivalent. Wide-angle lenses will help with handheld shooting to minimize the impact of shake.

In front of the lens is a Tiffen Black Pro-Mist 1/4 Filter. The reason is that the filter brings a little bit of softness, which can help get a more cinematic look with smoother highlight roll-off.

Now that the core kit is built you’ll need to start building the rest of the kit. Sliding it onto a baseplate, like the CAMVATE Baseplate Riser will be a good setup. You can even move the 15mm rods to get the just right. With a Manfrotto QR plate you can easily slide the camera on and off. Add the SmallRig 16” 15mm Rods now.

Comfort is key, and a SmallRig Shoulder Pad will do the job for a good price. Slide it right onto the rods but don’t tighten it all the way yet so you can make more adjustments. The Tilta V-Mount Battery Plate will go on behind the pad to add some nice counterbalance. Smith puts this all the way at the back of the rods and then slides the shoulder pad back quite close to it. Completing the power solution is a D-Tap splitter. He attaches it using Velcro to the battery plate. Then just pop on any old V-mount battery.

Since the Pocket 6K doesn’t have a fancy articulating screen you’ll need an external monitor/viewfinder for shoulder mounting. A dedicated monitor mount and then the PortKeys BM5 LCD Monitor will do the trick and get it in a nice spot for viewing. The PortKeys in particular is very bright and has options to control the camera’s settings via the touchscreen. 

Powering the monitor is done using a Sony NP-F to D-tap adapter. Running everything off the one battery simplifies the whole structure. You can then power the camera with a standard D-tap to LEMO cable. The just use an HDMI cable to connect the camera to the monitor.

To the top! Adding a SmallRig Top Handle will help just move the whole rig around with ease. Another small accessory is the Tilta Nucleus-Nano, a remote follow focus system. No more awkward handling of the lens itself. You can even hand this wireless model off to an AC to do remote focus pulls. This has some other mounting accessories to get it set up on the rig.

Adding to the more professional look of this setup is a PolarPro Matte Box. It’s lightweight and has a nice variable ND filter. And then after that you’ll want to add some handgrips. This is going to actually complete the shoulder rig aspect and make it operable. Now you have a practically complete looking rig. Just make sure you do some nice cable management to prevent snags.

An extra piece of kit you can consider is an on-camera microphone. Not absolutely necessary if you use wireless lavaliers or dual-system sound, but it can help as a backup or a higher quality scratch track. Just add a cold shoe to the top handle. And, for remote monitoring you can add another cold shoe and a wireless transmitter.

Wow, there’s a lot to look at when you consider all the individual pieces needed to convert the Blackmagic Pocket 6K into a serious shoulder-mounted camera. I like how it looks, and considering the relative affordability of the camera itself, adding nicer accessories such as this is very sensible.

[source: Chadwin Smith]

Order Links:

  • Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K (B&H, Amazon)
  • Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K (B&H, Amazon)
  • Rokinon Cine DS 24mm T1.5 Lens (B&H, Amazon)
  • Tiffen 77mm Black Pro-Mist 1/4 Filter (B&H)
  • PortKeys BM5 II Touchscreen Monitor (B&H, Amazon)
  • PortKeys BT Module (B&H, Amazon)
  • CAMTREE Hunt Dual Grips (B&H, Amazon)
  • SmallRig 1897 EVF Bracket Mount with NATO Clamp (B&H, Amazon)
  • SmallRig 2203 BMPCC Cage (B&H, Amazon)
  • Samsung T5 SSD (B&H, Amazon)
  • Tilta D-Tap to LEMO Power Cable (B&H, Amazon)
  • SmallRig 16” 15mm Rods (B&H, Amazon)
  • CAMVATE Quick Release Mount Base (B&H, Amazon)
  • Tilta V-Mount Battery Plate (B&H, Amazon)
  • SmallRig MD2393 Universal Top Handle (B&H)
  • Tilta Nucleus-Nano Wireless Follow Focus (B&H, Amazon)
  • PolarPro Basecamp Matte Box Kit (B&H)
  • D-Tap to Sony NP-F Power Adapter (Amazon)
  • Koolertron D-Tap Splitter (Amazon)
  • Tilta 15mm Rod Adapter for Nucleus-Nano (B&H)
  • Hollyland Cosmo 600 Wireless Video Transmitter (B&H, Amazon)

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