Is Independent Film 'Healthy' If 99% of Us Fail? It's as "healthy" as it has ever been, which is to say, not at all.
When 1% of any business is "successful" and 99% fails, it's not really a business. Films are made by passionate, creative people, not businessmen who only see the "bottom line" and define the quality of their lives by money. Art is not a "good business" despite what the 500 year old painting just sold for, artists do it because they have to, not because it makes good financial sense. Artists are easy to exploit, because being creative often involves a drive that cannot be measured, or motivated, by money. What I find so amusing with the Hollywood business model is all the "20 million a picture" actors who used to work for free just to get started and now enter the 0.01% of wage earners when they are "popular." When the few suck up all the money, there is nothing left for that boom operator, or the make up person, or anyone else that doesn't have their face on the poster at the theater. It is an obscene business that takes advantage of people who love what they do, who regularly work overtime without pay or for no pay at all, just for the love of being involved in a creative endeavor, who are then treated so badly by the "business" people who control the industry. It's really no different than McDonalds fast food sweatshops, pay as little as possible to desperate people and create an empire for the 0.01%
Filmmaking, or any of the arts, is not a "good business" if that is what you are looking for, you are in the wrong industry.
You can not compete with stupidity. Own the gear that makes sense, good financial sense, and rent the rest. The only "producers" who care if you have expensive gear are too cheap to get it from a rental company and want YOU to subsidize their productions. You cannot be in business very long if you "undercut" rates and rentals too far, unless your are independently wealthy and don't need to earn a living.
I recently bought a used c300 to compliment my c100, I use atomos recorders with both of them, I have shot plenty of material without the atomos recorders, but for the best quality during a grade use the recorders. I was thinking of 4k, but decided to hold off for another 1-2 years as all my work is for broadcast and Web. I have seen HD projected and it's just fine. I like to think I make films, not resolution test charts!
Total data load is a concern, 4k is 400% more data than hd, I often shoot 2-3 cameras, so shooting 4k becomes very expensive, very quickly, and I'm not shooting raw either.
4k cameras use very expensive internal media. I like to have 6 hours a day of recording time, cost prohibitive with 4k and multiple cameras. If you are making 5 minute short films, shoot 4k raw, it won't matter. I shoot 100-200 hours, multi-cam, so good compressed, non raw is the only affordable option now.
I run Vegas Pro 12/13; Resolve 11; Premiere Pro cc and started with 1 Quadro 4000 on a x58 board and an i7-930 cpu. Upgraded to a dual quadro 4000 and then a hex core xenon with the same x58 chipset motherboard and added dual gtx-980 gpu cards. I am getting decent playback performance with Resolve and rendering times, at this point the bottleneck is the MB, but for my work real time performance is just fine. There will be no more upgrades to this system, I will build a new PC with a z97 chipset, an 8 core cpu, will reuse the gtx-980's and have a thunderbolt connection for my external storage. Perhaps a year or two from now as my system is doing everthing I need now, no need for further upgrades till something chages or need to work in 4k natively.
You should not "regret" trusting your DP, they are supposed to know more than you about the technical side of production, that's the whole point of hiring someone as it's extremely difficult for you to do everthing alone.
The further you go in your career, you cannot second guess the people you hire, but you have to hire competent people!
Shooting RAW is not a mistake for the Blackmagic cameras, it's the only way to get the maximum dynamic range out of these cameras, but shooting RAW is not necessary for every scene unless you have the budget. Raw can be used just for those high contrast scenes where it's a benefit and then you can transcode as you download your files to a compressed format as you see fit. Raw files are just a tool and your "DP" needs to know when to use it and when not to. There are cheap phone apps that will tell you how much drive space you need based upon what camera and codec you are shooting, so if you know how long you are recording you can plan on purchasing drives to cover yourself.
As far as "putting too much trust" in your DP, you will be far worse off on your next project if you micro-manage the production and not let your department heads do their job, the only failure was to hire someone with the necessary skills to do the job, but as you said you like the look of the footage, then I would have to say the DP did his/her job well and any issues you have with storage will be forgotten when you screen the film. Be thankful you were not shooting film @ $200/roll= 11minues of running time! Your $25k feature could have cost you $25~50k just for film and processing and transfer to HD.