Megan Gaffney is the vice president of marketing at AirVūz, a Minneapolis-based website for watching and sharing drone videos of all types, whether it is scenic landscapes or videos from drone racing and FPV freestyle pilots.
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Drone Girl: Considering you work at AirVūz, I imagine you watch a LOT of drone videos. What qualities do the best videos have? What are some things you frequently see in drone videos that you don’t like?
Megan Gaffney: Everyone here at AirVūz watches A LOT of drone videos. It is fundamental to our community and one of our core values. We have a human engine behind the site and watching aerial videos is also one of the most fun parts of our job!
The best videos, camera and first person view, are created by makers who understand some of the foundations of cinematography. It is quickly becoming more than just being a good drone pilot, you also have to be a good filmmaker. The exception to this rule of thumb, of course, is seeing aerial footage from areas of the globe we don’t often see from the air.
My first piece of advice for anyone creating a drone video is pay close attention to the opening of your drone video. Overly long intros or being too slow to get into a riveting piece of aerial content can kill even the best drone video.
DG: I agree! People on the Internet have short attention spans — myself included. So what drone is your favorite to fly?
DG: Can you recommend a great spot to fly drones in the Minneapolis area?
MG: Minnesota really is the best and people are often surprised to hear we are not headquartered in a more tech/media dense city. One of the best spots to fly in Minnesota is along the North Shore of Lake Superior. It has picturesque rock formations, light houses, a quintessential ‘Minnesota’ vibe and during the fall the leaves are on fire! Being based in the north does make us big fans of the heated DJI Inspire batteries!
But my Mavic does a decent job of cold weather flying, my iPhone as a remote didn’t make it through this whole video – we had to land with line of site because the phone froze and shut off!
DG: Hah, a classic Minnesota problem. Though I do love Minnesota. Other than drones, I am obsessed with Glam Doll Donuts!
MG: Glam Doll is frequently brought in as a office treat! It’s so good. We are huge donut fans here, and huge fans of Glam Doll.
DG: What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned after working in AirVūz?
Megan Gaffney: The biggest surprise while working at AirVūz for the last year has been its explosive growth. We knew the drone industry was growing quickly, and we hoped that the need for community and content discovery within the drone industry was as high as we expected, but we really have been blown away by some of our growth stats.
To put it into perspective, we launched Airvuz.com in December 2015. Just two years ago. Zero subscribers to our website. Zero followers on our Facebook page. Zero email addresses.
Today, our community – our drone enthusiast and content creator fans – number more than 250,000 subscribers on our website, and more than 210,000 people who have opted into our email list. Much of that growth has taken place in the last twelve months.
Our social media is growing just as fast, if not more rapidly. On Facebook alone, we have more than 1.3 million followers. On social we pick up more people who are interested in the various content categories on AirVūz, while those who register on the site are interested in the whole breadth of content. The amount of time registered users spend on our site is incredible! Aerial content truly sucks you in.
DG: What advice would you have for someone who wants to work in the drone industry?
MG: In a lot of ways we are still in the infancy of this industry. It is evolving and innovating at a rapid pace. Here’s what I say: embrace the evolution and the unpredictable nature of it!
I have worked in a variety of industries and this is by far the most vibrant. At AirVūz, we are blown away on a daily basis by the content created with, and innovation that is capable with, drones.
I would also strongly encourage more women to become involved in this industry. Including, to flying and creating content with drones. Let’s make 2018 the year of the female drone pilot!
DG: Agreed! Okay, last question. If you could fly a drone anywhere in the world, where would it be?
MG: The Galapagos Islands would be an incredible spot to fly! We don’t often see video form there because it’s highly regulated and for good reason. But the wonderful thing about drones is (when used properly) you can capture incredible sites without disrupting natural habitats.