Cast your mind back to primary school. Remember the first time you saw a strange horseshoe shaped piece of red metal that was grey at the ends? And then your teacher – Mr Phillips or Miss Smith or Mrs Ellicot – threw some metal filings on to a piece of card paper, placed the horseshoe object underneath and lo! Wonderous patterns suddenly appeared.
Of course, you and your classmates all gasped! It was magic! How could this be?
We now know this is called “magnetism”, and even if we don’t know WHY it does what it does, we at least understand what is happening.
A few companies in the film and video making biz have successfully incorporated the properties of magnetism into their products, with to me, the most notable being DJI which is using it very successfully as an “attachment” medium; that is using magnetism to connect two or more devices together. The Action 2 used it extensively.
SmallRig also uses it to cleverly attach Allen keys to its rigs, so you don’t need to go hunting for one to assemble or dismantle or even remove a camera from the rig Zhiyun has done the same thing with a screwdriver on some of its gimbals.
Which leads me neatly onto the Elgato Low Profile Mic Arm.
I reviewed the Elgato Multi-Mount system back in July last year. This is a series of articulated arms attached to an upright with a clamp at the end to attach it to a desk or benchtop. The cleverness is the adaptability at the end to being to connect a mic holder of various types, tablet holders or even cameras as well as the option to add further different length reticulated arms.
Conversely, the Elgato Low Profile Mic Arm, whilst having standard ¼” thread at the end – and is supplied with a pair of adaptors for different sizes (¼ ” – 5/8” and ¼” to 3/8”) – it is primarily designed for microphones as the name suggests.
Again, there is a standard bench clamp – more on that in a second – and the Low Profile Mic Arm slides onto a vertical spigot allowing full 360° rotation. It has to be said this was a very tight fit and needed a bit of bash file persuasion to nub down correctly, but thankfully, was easily again removable for transportation to somewhere else.
A clever feature of the clamp is a button on the windy handle thing (called a ratchet apparently) that allows you reposition it after tightening so that it isn’t jammed up hard against something or otherwise difficult to get to.
The horizontal arm that extends from this has a joint halfway along allowing 180° rotation in the horizontal plane in the vertical axis will go from full vertical (90°) to 60° below the horizontal giving lots of flexibility.
As mentioned, on the end of this is a standard ¼” thread on a ball joint that has a range of 90° (vertical) to -90° (straight down).
It is thus relatively easy to set this up so that the mic is at head height no matter you are sitting or standing. I used the Elgato Wave:3 that uses a USB-C connector without issue.
So where does the “magnetism” thing come in you ask?
One of the banes of anyone involved in audio and video is cable management. We are all familiar with the site of extra cable being wound around the boom and mic stand, I am sure! What Elgato has cleverly done is create compartments in the two arms of the Elgato Low Profile Mic Arm in which the cable can be fed and thus kept out of sight.
Access to these compartments is via a pair of magnetically attached “lids” covering the top of the arm. Simply lift this off, run the cable through and pop it back on again.
Very nice and well thought out.