How to Kit Out Your 6K Pro Package

You've just gotten your hands on your brand-new Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 6K Pro. What else do you need to get shooting right away?

One of the first things we get excited about with any new camera is getting it properly kitted out for whatever projects we have coming our way. One of the particularly exciting things about kitting out the 6K Pro is just how much raw flexibility is available from the smallest camera that allows for internal RAW and the first camera that offered direct-to-hard-drive recording on standard commercially available SSDs.

This has opened up an entire market of accessories that allow for a variety of fascinating configurations that customize the camera for your production.

Cages

The first subject we need to cover is the camera cage, and whether you'll even need one.

The purpose of a camera cage is twofold. First, it provides an extra level of protection by wrapping your camera in another layer of (generally) aluminum that is going to prevent dings and nicks from hurting your camera. More importantly than that, however, it provides a variety of flexible mounting points around your camera body, and with certain custom-designed cages, you get a level of flexibility that extends the power of your camera into new dimensions. Between sound receivers, video transmitters, storage options, and even viewfinders, the array of accessories for a fully kitted camera is infinite.

Smallrig

A good starting place when looking at cages for the Blackmagic Pocket 6K Pro is the SmallRig Full Camera Cage and NATO Top Handle Kit for Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K & 6K.

Designed to fit snugly around the camera body, its standout feature is the integrated Samsung SSD mount. As we'll discuss below in storage, one of the best features of these cameras is shooting straight to SSDs like the Samsung T5 units, and having a cage designed with direct mounting of those in mind is a major plus.

Tilta Tactical Camera Cage

A step up from there is the Tilta tactical camera cage. It comes in at more than twice the price of the Smallrig, but the functionality it offers makes it well worth it for demanding job applications.

You can split it in half and use only the left side if you want to hold the handgrip directly without interference from the cage. It works with the extended battery grip and allows for mounting 15mm rods even when working with that grip.

With 90° HDMI and USB-C adapters for simpler and cleaner cable routing, mounting spots for flathead and Allen keys, and ARCA swiss compatibility for direct mounting to the DJI RS2, the Tilta feels like the cage that has thought of everything. 

Best of all, its standout feature is the viewfinder extension system that allows for mounting the viewfinder in a variety of different positions. For setting up a handheld rig with a traditional viewfinder position, this is a key, absolutely wonderful feature and it really shows the benefit of a robust third-party ecosystem making accessories in support of manufacturers.

Fathom 

We would be remiss if we didn't mention the camera cage from Fathom, which takes a different approach to the cage design. The Fathom is designed to be large enough around so that instead of hugging your camera directly, it leaves room for your hand to slide around the grip with the mounting points on the outside so you can still mount further accessories without sacrificing the original camera ergonomics.

Power

The next issue most users want to address is working with the Blackmagic Pocket 6K Pro is figuring out the most efficient power solution. It's a camera that offers beefy performance (6K recording with dual native ISO and RAW), in a small form factor, and that will always mean more battery swaps that you might run into when working with a larger system.

The 6K Pro mounts a Sony NP-F570 internally, and some users simply buy a lot of NP-F570 batteries, a 4x charger, and keep swapping. That will work for some workflows, but if you want longer runtimes, there are a host of ways to connect more juice to your camera.

Battery Grip

Blackmagic itself makes the first accessory to consider, the Blackmagic Battery Pro Grip.

This allows for mounting two additional Sony L series batteries to the bottom of the camera for longer runtime and gives you a new handgrip for vertical shooting. Most importantly, you'll end up with the ability to hot-swap batteries to keep shooting for ultra-long runtimes. However, you do get more vertical height out of the camera, which might not work for certain camera setups.

Battery Top Handle

If you don't want to take up the extra space below the camera, you can also look at something like a power handle, which can mount to the side or the top of your camera.

In combination with a D-tap to Blackmagic power cable, you can get longer runtimes to your Pocket 6K while also getting the functionality of an additional handle. These units generally have multiple power outputs allowing you to power several accessories at the same time.

V Mount Adapter

If you are already well-stocked in V-mount batteries from previous camera setups or to work with your LED lighting units, you should consider going V-mount with your Pocket 6K as well.

Generally mounted on rods and running directly from the plate into the camera body's power accessory port, this will allow for longer runtimes while working with a very common, robust professional battery standard that will serve you in future productions.

Storage

The final major decision most make at this point in terms of kitting out their 6K Pro is external storage options.

You can shoot RAW internally to the CFast cards that mount in the camera, but those are relatively pricey, and you can save a lot of money by shooting externally to something else.

There are two popular choices to consider, Samsung T5 to T7 SSDs, or M.2 storage mounted in a special case.

Samsung T5/T7 Drives

These are wonderfully affordable (1TB for around $150, sometimes 2TB for less than $250) storage options for shooting RAW straight over USB-C to a drive. Since they are SSD units, they don't need any special suspension system like HDD used to need, and you can shoot straight to them all day long.

A variety of manufacturers make mounting options, and these are by far the most common drives you see mounted to a Blackmagic Pocket. You'll also see some popular setups for similar drives from Angelbird.

M.2

If the Samsung T5 is so wonderful, why consider M.2, which requires an extra case?  Speed.

While you might not get extra speed out of the camera itself (the top file size of the 6K Pro at 30fps is 6144 x 3456 (6K) Blackmagic RAW 3:1 is only 323 MB/s, well beneath the 515MB/s write speed of the T5), you'll see it in the downloads after you are done shooting and are backing up.

With a top read speed four times faster than the T5 (540 vs. 2000), you could potentially see your downloads happen four times as fast, which can be a huge timesaver on set and in post.

However, you buy M.2 drives raw and need to put them in a container, and while there are many available, so far only Tilta is making a setup designed for film set use, with extra layers of physical security and mounting points. With prices of 1TB M2 coming in similar to the T5 (around $150), and the Tilta M2 accessory only $50, if you are doing a lot of shooting at high frame rates and need to be sure you don't end up with a backlog of files to download, the M2 solution is one to keep an eye on for affordable, ultra-fast storage.

What do you think of our suggestions? Let us know in the comments.     

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