Review: Wooden Camera Unified BMPCC4K/6K Camera Cage

Looking at the Unified baseplate, rod support, handles, and everything else you may need in an accessory kit.

So, you have a camera. You unboxed it, threw on a battery, a lens, and some media, and you run out into the world to enthusiastically capture brilliant cinematic footage. But, wait, the footage did not turn out quite as cinematic as you wanted. I mean, it was close. Flashes of your cinematic brilliance were borne forth onto the screen, but consistency remained elusive. You are experiencing unbridled enthusiasm in its purest form. Do not worry; I, too, do it every time a camera arrives on my doorstep to be tested and reviewed. Wooden Camera accessories have helped me bottle my enthusiasm to achieve consistent, easy to capture cinematic footage.Wooden Camera

On a basic level, you need to be able to able to pull a camera out of a bag or case and start shooting right away. For me, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K and 6K can be used in one of two ways: by itself on a gimbal or rigged up like a full-sized camera. I found these two options are the best for me. How do you shoot with either of these cameras?

Building up the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K and 6K starts with a solid base plate, camera cage for rigging any accessories, rods to hold accessories too, and an Arri quick release plate. Wooden Camera, on so many levels, has you and your camera, covered.

Wooden CameraThe Wooden Camera Unified Accessory Kit for the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K or 6K is solid. The cage fits each camera well without circling the lens mount, meaning a cage for the Pocket 4K may work on the Pocket 6K. This adaptability is a big plus for those Pocket 4K shooters hoping to add the Pocket 6K to their kit later.

What you get with the Wooden Camera Unified Accessory Kit is a cage, top handle, 15mm quick release baseplate with two 15mm rod ports, and two 12″ long 15mm rods. The camera cage for the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K and 6K has a whole bunch of 1/4″-20 and 3/8″-16 threaded holes form mounting all the equipment you need to make these cameras more shooter friendly. The whole Unified Accessory Kit only weighs in at a feather-weight class of 2.6 pounds. When matched with the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K or 6K, the combined weight is only around 4 pounds total.

I was afforded a little bit of time with this Wooden Camera Unified Accessory Kit to see how much it helped me shoot with my Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K. Outside of protecting your camera, the biggest reason I see for a camera cage is an obvious one: to mount accessories to your camera. Gear should make your life as a shooter easy. The easier it is to be creative, the better you deliver creative footage. The Wooden Camera Unified Accessory Kit for the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K and 6K helped me be a little bit more creative and more inclined to pull out my camera quickly.

Unified BMPCC4K Camera Cage Package

  • BMPCC 4K Support Package
  • Formfitting Cage with Wooden Handle
  • 15mm DSLR Quick Release Baseplate
  • 2 x 12″ 15mm Rods

The Wooden Camera cage keeps your camera protected on three sides while keeping access to controls on the top right and on the right-hand grip open. On the camera’s left side the Wooden Camera cage is open just enough to reach past the camera’s frustrating rubber covers. Honestly, take those rubber covers off if you can do so.  The camera cage, like nearly all camera cages on the market, has a ton of 1/4″-20, 3/8″-16 mounts but unlike most, the Wooden Camera version also comes with the addition of ARRI mounts. A Manfrotto quick release system on the bottom of the cage enables quick mounting and detaching from Manfrotto-compatible tripod heads and other supports.

Top Handle

A top handle, while necessary, can seem mundane and boring. It is just a top handle, but the simplicity to reverse the Wooden Camera top handle or fold down the handle for packing makes life a little easier. It is the little things that make life just a little bit easier. Not only can the top handle fold down and is reversible, but it can also double as a side handle by attaching it to the left vertical rod as a secondary grip.

Like most top handles on the market, the Wooden Camera version has a cold shot on the top which may be used to mount a microphone, monitor, or any accessory. I typically used the top handle cold shoe to hold my
SmallHD Focus 7.Wooden Camera

Manfrotto Quick Release Compatibility

Use the cage’s Manfrotto quick release dovetail base to secure your camera to compatible plates and tripod heads. Turn the thumbscrew and depress the release pin to slide the plate backward out of the base.

Built-In Lens Adapter Support

A built-in lens adapter support should be a standard for most camera cages these days. Wooden Camera delivers a built-in Lens Adapter Support into their Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K and 6K cages. It provides extra support for lens adapters with a 1/4″-20 thread on the bottom, which also works with Wooden Camera PL adapters, Metabones adapters, and Viltrox adapters.Wooden Camera

HDMI Adapter

This kit came with a right-angle adapter and a cable clamp to help secure the HDMI cable from the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K. I found this to be a mistake. The right-angle adapter sends the HDMI cable toward the back of the camera, leaving a shooter to either use longer HDMI cables to rig around the camera or not use the right-angle adapter. I decided not to use the right-angle adapter. What I think maybe a smarter decision is to use a left-angle HDMI adapter. A left-angle adapter means you have a slightly shorter distance from the camera’s HDMI output to a monitor mounted on the Top Handle’s cold shoe. At the least, give buyers an option of either a right-angled or left-angled HDMI adapter.

The Wooden Camera Unified Camera Cage also has the option to lock the HDMI cable into place. I think this simple solution for ensuring an HDMI cable does not become disconnected. Instead of a screw into the camera cage option, this version by Wooden Camera means you can use this camera cage on different height HDMI placement from different cameras as long as the cage fits into this cage. The downside to this HDMI lock is the size. To lock in a USB-C cord or Audio cord may be a little cumbersome to fit.Wooden Camera

Unified DSLR 15mm Baseplate

I also had the opportunity to test out Wooden Camera’s Unified DSLR 15mm Baseplate. The Unified DSLR Baseplate not only gives one the option to use 15mm rods but an Arri Quick-Release plate too. Seriously, if you haven’t looked into the use of an Arri QR plate to your camera to a tripod or to slide the camera and lens back and forth for finding a perfect balance, then you should. I could pull my camera, with the Wooden Camera accessories, out of my Cinebag and throw it onto a tripod in seconds.

When the Unified DSLR 15mm Baseplate arrived, I struggled to get it assembled quickly, but once I figured it out, seriously it took me about ten minutes, it was built up and attached to my camera cage where it stayed.

15mm LWS Rod Support

Foremost to me, a 15mm LWS rod support is nearly necessary for the style of shooting I typically face. I usually use a matte box, at least a manual follow focus, at times a wired follow focus, handgrips, and lens supports. All of these need a 15mm LWS rod support to mount.

We make a big deal about the cameras we use or want to use or hope to use but never actually see in person. 4K, 15 stops of dynamic range, 6K, Full-Frame, 10-bit, 12-bit, and even 8K all look great on paper, but if you cannot deploy eight thousand lines of a resolution effectively, then you may be holding a dud in your hands. Sure, you can get past the hurdles and “make it work.” The older I get, the more I want my work to be easy. Easy to create great work is paramount to continue creating great work.Wooden Camera

While the Wooden Camera Unified BMPCC4K Camera Cage and accessories maybe a little more expensive for some remember the build, and the equipment’s adaptability, means you may rest assured your investment works with this camera or others. During this review period, which was admittedly a little long, I also tested the Wooden Camera Shoulder Base V3(Pro), the Ulta Arm Monitor Mount, and the Zip Box Pro (Swing Away) matte box. I will dive into these Wooden Camera accessories in a bit.

I decided to separate these reviews into areas of purchase for a shooter similar to me and my budget. I figure, like many of you, we do not have tons of cash sitting around to buy all the gear we want all at once. I tend to buy what I need and then add accessories as I grow, and my experience with a camera teaches me where the camera needs accessories to help me capture good looking footage easily.

Take a matte box; for example, I have lived a long and fortunately successful life as a shooter without a dedicated cinema-style matte box. Yes, I rented one when needed for specific needs and production. I have since bought a matte box and make use of it often. I figure many of us work this way. When I finish posting the individual stories, I will also group them into one all-encompassing post for more comfortable reading and sharing.Wooden Camera

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Brian Hallett, is an award winning cameraman, editor, and producer. He has shot everything from Network broadcast news, promotional image campaigns, music videos, short films, and documentaries. Check out his reel at hallett-brian.com