The True Cost of the BMPCC 4k

I wanted to make an article about this for some time now. What is the True Cost of the BMPCC 4k? Initial price as we know is very cheap and affordable, for $1300 US dollars we get a bang of a deal! Only Davinci Resolve cost $300 and its included in the price! So technically the camera costs only $1000! Not bad at all for a little camera that shoots around 95% of ARRI ALEXA look “if shot right”, but that’s another story…

Let’s make it short and sweet and get to the point!

I am writing this from the perspective of someone who actually does real paid work and has decent clients and projects. Obviously, money is the name of the game so let’s be realistic here…

CAGE

BMPCC 4k must have a cage! without a cage there is nothing you can mount on it, the camera is naked and realistically unusable. Decent cage will run you anywhere from $120-$400 US Dollars for a good usable setup.

STORAGE

Storage is another potential issue new user may cross. Most popular storage for BMPCC 4k right now is a Samsung T5 SSD 500GB. It’s a nice little drive that will get you around 75 minutes shooting Blackmagic RAW “BRAW” at 4096×2160 at 23.98fps. At the moment of writing this, the price is $90 from the Amazon. VERY IMPORTANT! Don’t buy a larger size than 500GB! A lot of amateurs making a huge mistake buying 1TB or larger drive thinking they are beating the price system, which they are, but here is the catch! In the professional cinema, you supposed to be constantly dumping footage to a backup drive. With such a large size like 1tb, people often film the entire day without any backups. What happens that sometimes SSD crashes, overhears and other common failures occur and here goes your entire day footage. At least buy x2 of those drives and shuffle them. Don’t run them nonstop.

BATTERY

BMPCC 4k comes with excellent battery life! Out of small included LP-E6 battery you can record 50 minutes of footage when the battery is new. That’s fantastic! If you some kind of small nature videographer, you can get 4-5 of those and be set for the whole day assuming the weight of the rig matters to you. If you shooting more serious stuff like a documentary, short films, music videos, etc… you must buy professional battery! V-Mount or Gold Mount options are available. Don’t buy those cheap gimmick phone charger batteries, they will ruin your camera as they can’t sustain constant energy output. One professional battery can power your entire rig and external monitor the entire day! I been using these CORE SWX batteries for years and never had any issues with power. It will cost you between $250-$300 for one battery but it’s totally worth it.

EXTERNAL MONITOR

BMPCC 4k screen is great when the environment is dark. Outside in the sunny day screen is absolutely useless. To add to the problem, build in focus assist from BM is terrible and extremely hard to see. The external monitor is a must. I personally been using SmallHD monitors for years and absolutely love their screen. Their focus assist never failed me once and extremely easy to see outdoors. Their screens are expensive but will last you forever and extremely durable. Anywhere between $600-$800 for high end monitor.

FOCUS 7 On-Camera Monitor

AUDIO

I never recommend anyone recording audio in camera. Always use an external audio recorder and a good microphone. I won’t include this section in the cost, as it’s related to audio performance, so am going to leave this as a warning instead of the actual cost. Onboard BMPCC 4k audio does a great job as scratch audio, no need for the actual microphone on that matter.

LENSES

I recommend going for a native MFT lens. Olympus makes fantastic sharp glass that works very well on the BMPCC 4k. There a tons of different mounts and adapters for the pocket camera. Metabones Speedbooster is a very popular one. I have been using it for years and very satisfied with the quality of it. However, I personally don’t like the idea of having extra layers of “glass” between the lens and the sensor. One way or another it’s going to affect the image. If you already have tons of whatever mounts lenses you have, then obviously get yourself an adapted. But if you are freshly buying glass just for the camera, going native mount is highly recommended. Metabones may run you around average $550

SHOULDER RIG

If you planning on doing lot’s of handheld shots this is a must. With few things included above, the rest of the shoulder right should run you around $500. You going to need:

12-16 inch 15mm RODS – $30

Cheese Plate for Battery – $50

Shoulder PAD – $50

Handles – $250

Articulating arm for monitor – $70

Good shoulder rig is effective and well balanced. Don’t make a Mickey Mouse crappy rig with tons of garbage all over indicating you scrambled what you could without paying extra. Those rigs will raise RED FLAGS for the clients. Make sure your rig looks solid and presentable. On BMPCC 4k Facebook group I have been seeing tons of ridiculous rigs. I guarantee you, if any decent client will see that, they won’t hire you if you gonna do that stuff. I keep seeing mics sticking out like a pyramid, some weird handles on the side, cheap cellphone battery banks, tons of gimmick rods everywhere…That kind of stuff tells a potential client that you have no clue what you are doing and technically they are correct. I have personally canceled few “cinematographers” for hire after seeing their gimmick rig.

TIP: Good rigs are compact and efficient, well balanced.

Generally, as a template use the RED CLUTCH rig. A very fantastic rig that cost ton’s of money that you can replicate with the above specs for fraction of the cost.

RED CLUTCH RIG

IR ND FILTER

A very important part of the setup! ND filters are like sunglasses for your camera. Once you pass around 4 stops of filtration, you going to start introducing what’s called IR Pollution. IR ND Filters eliminate that color contamination keeping image and colors as precise as possible. Don’t ever use Variable ND filters, they are complete junk and will introduce lots of issues including Halo, X marks around the image, Color shirts and Extreme IR Pollution. That ND filter will run you around $100-$200 depending on the size.

CONCLUSION

Without Including the tripod price, I estimate that the true cost of the BMPCC 4k is roughly around $4000. Not bad at all considering that is going to make your little camera ultimate filmmaking machine. Just remember to stay away from Mickey Mouse setups and gimmicks that make your setup look ridiculous.

Check out other articles in the BLOG section for more filmmaking and color grading information.