Review: Elgato Low Profile Mic Arm… and magnets. I talk about magnets.

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.

The Elgato Low Profile Mic Arm can be bought for around $150 – a bit less if you shop around. You can get more information from the Elgato website.






Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro and SanDisk Pro-Blade Ecosystem

Just over a week ago I reviewed the SanDisk Pro-Blade Ecosystem and discovered its minor quirks and an … ahhhm… omitted entry in the user notes.

But all in all, I thought the concept was a brilliant one, and still do.

Now, in my further playing investigations, I have discovered something else. I alluded to this in the original article, but only now managed to get around to testing it.

Will the SanDisk Pro-Blade Ecosystem work as an external SSD for a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro?

And the answer is yes, but again with a weird quirk.

I had formatted the drive for Windows as per the finally discovered documentation covering this area that is missing from the user notes (thank you Norman at SanDisk Tech for this – ), and connected the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro to the Transport unit containing the Mag (the actual drive).

And damn it, the camera would not see it in the installed media on the main screen in the LCD.

However going into the bowels of the camera’s OS, and the area covering storage, it DID see the drive as unformatted. So, in for a penny and in for a pound, I used the camera to again format the drive.

It took around 30 seconds for the 2TB and then lo! It was there, and I have a tasty 5 hours + of storage available.

Why it needed a camera format (both were set for NTFS) I have no idea, but what the hell, I don’t car, it worked and Windows can still the SanDisk when it is plugged in to the USB-C port.

Footnote: It is imperative in both cases you use the USB-C cable that comes with the SanDisk Pro-Blade Ecosystem. From my experience, other 3rd party USB-C cables may not work, but your mileage of course may vary.

Image: The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro inside a SmallRig cage and the SanDisk Pro-Blade Ecosystem. If you are interested in the cage I reviewed it here and they are available for a wide range of cameras from the Videoguys.

The mounted light is an Aputure AL-M9 (reviewed here) available from Kayell.

Review: SmallRig Professional Accessory Kit 3299 for BMD Cinema Camera 6K Pro

A nice piece of engineering is delightful to use. When it is eminently functional, it’s even better. And when setting it up, if that is easy, logical and adaptable, it is a joy.

This first paragraph eminently describes the SmallRig Professional Accessory Kit 3299, otherwise known as a cage for the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro.

Some weeks back I asked in various Facebook forums people’s thoughts on using cages, as I had never had the opportunity, or indeed, I surmised, the need to. But after procuring my Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro, I thought there may be an advantage in having one.

The response was almost unanimously a yes, go for it, and you’ll never look back. Also almost unanimously was the advice to get a SmallRig unit.

It turned up a couple of days back, so this morning, I decided to assemble it and see for myself.

And so we come back to the elegant engineering. A cursory glance of the instructions is all that is really needed in order to understand what all the various components do and where they go.

The main unit is the cage itself of course, and the camera slotted into this very easily. A couple of screws on the bottom and one on the top lock it securely into place.

Next, a small bracket is added to the top via another pair of screws and then the top mounted handle mounted to that.

The side handle is next, and again, just brackets onto the left side of the cage.

One point needs to be made here.

All the supplied screws use Allen key heads and SmallRig has not only supplied the necessary keys, but they have very cleverly made them magnetic, and engineered locations in the body and handles to accommodate not one or two but THREE keys meaning you can adjust or add components in the field with all the needed tools on board and therefore immediately at hand.

Speaking of adjustments, again going back to the engineering, a plethora of drill holes are made available giving almost infinite possibilities of how the side handle for example is mounted. You also get brackets to act as cable and SD card holders; I’d love to see an adjustable one available to act as an SSD drive holder that could also be mounted to the cage.

(Addendum: after writing this I realised there IS provision on the bottom of the cage to slide in a Samsung T5 drive and lock it in place. Simply brilliant!).

The handles themselves are also adjustable, with provision to slide the side handle up or down and the top handle either forwards or backwards.

Added to this, all the supplied mounting points are either standard ¼” or 3/8” sizes. This makes it easy to add other accessories to the cage such as lights, mics, extra monitors etc with a minimum of fuss, both in handheld mode or when the whole kit and camera are tripod mounted.

In addition to the components I have described, included in the package are a sunhood and a screen protector by the way.

Despite the “pocket” moniker, you’d never call the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro as “light”, but the addition of the SmallRig cage doesn’t feel to add any appreciable weight at all, and it makes the camera beautifully balanced.

In fact, at this point, and of course in the future I allow myself to be corrected, I don’t see any reason to take the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro out of the cage.

My SmallRig Professional Accessory Kit 3299 came via Videoguys in Melbourne. For the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro, it retails for approximately $513.

Models for other cameras of course exist. You can check the full range at

(As an adjunct to see if I had assembled everything OK, I used


It’s All Apple’s Fault. Of course.

Over the years Apple has forged many new innovations that others have reluctantly and grumbly followed in order to keep pace. Of course the probable most important was the iPhone concept.

But there is another beautiful Apple innovation (I bet my friends never thought they would hear me say THOSE two words in the same sentence) that I also applaud.

Its packaging.

All of a sudden packaging became almost a Work of Art, and major companies leapt on the bandwagon.

I can think of DJI in particular (its packaging of the Robomaster was exquisite AND functional), but recently Zhiyun also have brilliant packaging. Today, I received a SmallRig Cage for my Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K and it too looks like something you never want to pull apart, but instead put in a glass cage, illuminated by soft light and simply admired lovingly for its beauty.

But Bah Humbug I say!

Once unpacked, have you EVER managed to get everything back in the box the way it came out? No nor have I.

Worse, with the penchant these days to put all the small bits into those soft, translucent plastic bags, you need to rip these apart at the start to get the stuff out in the first place. So that’s the end of them.

And then there are the companies that seal everything, so you have completely obliterate the outside wrapping to be able to attack the INSIDE wrapping (looking at you GoPro).

And don’t get me started on bloody blister packs!

Can we please go back to good old, simplified packaging where you open the box and there it is.

And don’t need a degree in project management and origami to get to it.

Then there is operating manuals with text so small you can’t even read ‘em!

I’ll stop now.