How DIY is the Tilta BMPCC 4K/6K Display Modification Kit?

October 1st, 2020 Jump to Comment Section 15

Have you thought about purchasing the Tilta flip screen modification kit for your BMPCC 4K / 6K camera but you are hesitant to install it yourself? Then let me invite you to read on …

The Tilta flip screen modification kit really caught my interest last year at IBC 2019 (see our coverage here and here) – as a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K owner, I felt that this kit would improve the usability of the camera significantly.

Tilta BMPCC 4K:6K Flip Screen Modification Kit – Image credit: Tilta

Tilta BMPCC Flip Screen Modification Kit – Why?

But not only the flip screen modification would be useful, also the clever inclusion of an SSD holder behind the screen is part of the modification.

The kit is now starting to be available, and you have the choice (in the US) to buy the kit and do the modification on your own or send in your camera and let the Tilta guys do it for you – for an additional 249 USD.

Let’s try it ourselves …

When the modification kit arrived at the CineD Vienna headquarters and my colleague Nino asked me if I want to install it on my camera, I was hesitant. I had never opened up any camera before, and don’t consider myself the do it yourself guy either.

But the offer was simply too tempting to ignore, so I went ahead and installed the kit – have a look at the video above!

Should I attempt to install the kit or not?

Tilta provides a very good 1:38h video tutorial which covers each and every step of the modification. (Unfortunately skipping the 90 seconds advertisements before the tutorial is not possible).. So my little report of doing this modification is not a “how to” tutorial, it is intended to give you a feeling – a basis – to decide for yourself if you should try this or not.

After all, there is a risk to destroy your camera in the process. It’s really up to you whether you want to risk it or not!

All In – Installing the Kit

The initial steps are surprisingly easy, and the video tutorial of Tilta is really good. All the needed tools are in the box, a hairdryer and a knife are needed in addition.

So initially I made good progress – I needed about 15mins for every 5mins of the tutorial.

One word of caution: you have to disconnect and reconnect a lot of very fragile, tiny cables. Right in the beginning I almost kinked one of those cables.

The cables & connectors are quite fragile – there is a risk of bending them if not careful.

Then, around halfway through (after ~1.5hrs), a point is reached where you have to insert a battery to do a test if the LCD screen works properly.

In the middle of the process – close to the first test of the LCD screen.

My Personal Low Point in the Process

And yes, it happend: starting my camera to do the test my LCD screen didn’t work. This was an absolute low point. The thing is, what should you do? My mind was racing.

Checking some of the connections didnt help. Should I just revert back and forget about the kit? My camera is still under warranty – but Blackmagic would not take it back for sure as it is obvious that the camera was opened.

Then I decided to take a break. I came back after 25mins and repeated the last few steps, mainly reconnecting all the (fragile) connectors.

And then the magic happened: it worked and I could resume.

The second half of the modification was without any issues and I completed the whole installation in 4hrs.

As a summary, this whole process of installing the kit is not for the faint-hearted – I had several moments where I almost lost it.

In hindsight, I would definitely recommend to send your camera to Tilta – unfortunately this service is only offered in the US.

Small(ish) Issues with the Tilta BMPCC 4K/6K Modification Kit

The modified connector plate which replaces the original BMPCC 4K/6K plate sticks a bit farther out of the camera, thereby I couldn’t get the microphone connection to work (i.e. the mic plug on the camera side doesnt sit flush with the plate anymore).

I shaved off 1mm of the rubber of my mic cable, then the connection worked properly.

The new connector plate of the modification kit sits a bit farther out – hence I had to modify the microphone cable.

All other connections were fine.

The monitor cable is bent when you install the tilt mechanism, and is flexed / strained every time you move the monitor. This is definitely a design flaw – I wonder how long this cable will last. Tilta supplies a spare cable for a good reason obviously.

The monitor connection cable is put under strain with every move of the screen – I wonder how long this will last. A spare cable is included in the kit though.

Using the Camera with the Kit in the Field

Now 6 weeks have passed since I had installed the kit, and I have used my BMPCC 6K almost on a daily basis. I had it 2 weeks on a sailboat in Croatia as well, putting the camera in and out of my backpack multiple times a day.

I can report that I am super happy with the kit! The modification parts are of very high quality, everything still feels super solid and the cam has become so much more versatile. Also, the clever inclusion of the SSD holder behind the screen keeps the original footprint of the camera the same – really nice!

Now, my only wish would be that someone designs a sunshade for the flip out screen – Tilta? Despite putting the screen brightness to 100%, it is still sometimes difficult to see the screen in direct sunlight.

Tilta BMPCC 4K:6K Flip Screen Modification Kit – Image credit: Tilta

Summary

I can only applaud Tilta of their bold move to supply such an innovative, well thought-through modification kit.

It ticks all of the boxes for me to use the BMPCC 6K “naked” without a cage. Just attach an external mic, grab a few spare batteries and off you go – fantastic.

However – if you ask me now to modify another BMPCC 4K/6K camera I would refuse – those 4 hours of installing the kit were quite terrifying at times ;-)

Did some of you install the Tilta kit? What are your experiences? Let us know in the comments below …

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