AirVūz Blog

June 13, 2018

AirVūz Partners with Rotor Riot for New Drone Web Series

Two of the biggest names in the drone industry are teaming up to provide a new series of content to fans around the world.

AirVuz.com and Rotor Riot have partnered to unveil “Rotor Riot Presents:” The self-described “semi-fictional, satirical entertainment” series features some of the top FPV (first-person view) drone pilots in the world. The first episode premiered on AirVūz this week and featured Philadelphia-based pilot Botgrinder. Each episode of the series will showcase a different FPV pilot.

In the inaugural episode, Botgrinder flies with fellow pilots Zoroe and Cricket as they attempt to pull off a challenging maneuver called the “Philly Corkscrew.” Botgrinder thinks his ticket to making it big in the FPV world is by getting noticed by Rotor Riot — and that means executing this tough stunt. Viewers who want to see if Botrgrinder can complete it will have to watch through the end of the episode.

AirVūz was launched in 2015 and is the host site of thousands of drone videos and photographs from all over the world. In addition to promoting the work of its global community of content creators, AirVūz also produces original drone-related content.

Rotor Riot was founded in 2015 by Chad Kapper after he saw the rise in popularity of drone racing and FPV drones. Rotor Riot is a collaborative of some of the world’s top drone pilots and boasts one of the largest drone-specific groups on Facebook, with more than 27,000 fans active in the group.

“I could tell this was going to be a thing and a movement and a lifestyle, so I wanted to create a brand that preserved and gave that culture a rally point,” Kapper said. “That’s what Rotor Riot is.”

Rotor Riot also offers a popular podcast for FPV pilots and is “always striving to entertain, educate and inspire people through kick-ass content.” Now its latest creation, “Rotor Riot Presents:” offers a glimpse into the different styles of drone pilots all over the world.

Kapper said the show takes a satirical approach: “We wanted to exaggerate things for the sake of entertainment and have fun with it. But the basis and foundation comes from a very real place, and you can’t make that up.”


May 29, 2018

Ready-to-fly FPV drones

If you’ve ever watched FPV videos, you’ve probably had the same thought as everyone else: that looks like a ton of fun.

But you’ve also perhaps had the same question as many others watching those videos: how do I get into FPV drones? Most pilots that fly FPV (first-person view) build custom quadcopters from a variety of different parts. That involves some basic knowledge of electronics and soldering, which isn’t a skill that everyone has — especially those of us who are used to flying camera drones that are ready to fly right out of the box.

Luckily for anyone looking to get into FPV drones, more and more companies are building ready-to-fly FPV mini quads with everything already assembled. All the pilot needs is a controller and goggles, and then pair those with the drone and you’re ready to go.

Drone manufacturer Teal has created the Teal Sport, an FPV drone that boasts it can fly 80 mph out of the box. The drone is modular, meaning replacing an arm or a motor is much easier than custom-build quads. Both the Racer and Freestyle models of the Teal Sport retail for $499.

Similarly, Uvify recently showcased its Draco drone at AUVSI Xponential in Denver. Like the Teal Sport, the Draco is modular and allows pilots to swap out an arm of the drone if things break or need repairs. Uvify offers both an analog and a digital version of the drone with regards to its video quality.

Even some of the best FPV pilots in the world enjoy flying pre-built quads. That list includes Shaun Taylor, who recently won a race at Xponential with the EMAX Hawk 5 ready-to-fly drone.

“If you’re getting into it, or if you’re a pilot like me and maybe don’t like working on them so much anymore, it’s really great,” Taylor said. “It’s super fun to fly. … It’s faster than the rigs that I build for myself.”


April 23, 2018

See the Latest Drone Video of the Week Winner

A Mexican drone pilot used six different drones over a five-year span to create a winning drone video.

Tarsicio Sañudo won the weekly AirVūz Drone Video of the Week contest (and the $1,000 prize) with his video “MEXICO A TRIP OF 5 YEARS.” The aerial compilation features more than 30 different locations throughout Mexico and showcases the country’s coastlines, festivals, skylines and natural wonders. Sañudo used six different DJI drones — the Phantom 1, Phantom 2, F450, Inspire 1, Mavic Pro and Phantom 4 Pro — to capture his winning film.

AirVūz.com, the world’s leading drone video and photography sharing platform, launched the “Drone Video of the Week” contest in which one content creator will be chosen for the weekly USD$1,000 prize. All drone videos uploaded to AirVuz.com are eligible to win. The contest began April 2.

The winning video received the most votes in a public poll and beat out four other finalists: “The 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Sri Lanka,” “Mystic Iceland,” “My First Year of Filmmaking” and “EPIC Lofoten Islands in Winter.” Finalists were chosen based on a variety of factors, including quality of footage, originality, music selection and editing techniques.


April 13, 2018

First Drone Video of the Week Winner Announced

One drone pilot is now $1,000 richer after winning a new video contest.

Noel Thomas of New Jersey won the inaugural AirVūz Drone Video of the Week contest with his video titled “Dreamscapes 4K,” which included aerial footage of locations all over the world — from New York to South Korea. The video features shots of skylines, waterside locales, bridges, unique hiking locations and more.

AirVūz.com, the world’s leading drone video and photography sharing platform, launched the “Drone Video of the Week” contest in which one content creator will be chosen for the weekly USD$1,000 prize. All drone videos uploaded to AirVuz.com are eligible to win. The contest began April 2.

The winning video beat out four other finalists: “4K Iceland Drone Adventure,” “Exploring the Galapagos in 4K,” “Drone Video Reel” and “24 HRS.” Finalists were chosen based on a variety of factors, including quality of footage, originality, music selection and editing techniques.

The AirVūz curation staff selected the five finalists from more than 1,000 videos uploaded to Airvuz.com during the week of April 2. Videos considered for the contest were uploaded between April 2 and April 8.

The contest continues for a second week, with another USD$1,000 up for grabs for drone pilots from all over the world. This week’s contest runs from April 9 through 11:59 p.m. CT on April 15.

The Drone Video of the Week contest follows the success of the inaugural AirVūz Drone Video Awards, which selected the best drone videos and photos of 2017. Voters chose winners in 13 categories from a total of more than 33,000 videos.


April 11, 2018

Drone Video Awards analysis: This is Yunnan by Face du Monde

As we look more in-depth at the winners of the 2017 Drone Video Awards, we now move to the “People” category. While all of the finalists were great, “This Is Yunnan” by Face du Monde came away with the win in that category.

The concept of having people in a drone video is one we here at AirVūz preach to content creators looking to make their videos stand out. Showcasing a beautiful landscape is one thing. But adding a human element to the video — either to show the scale of the aforementioned landscape or to simply vary your footage — can go a long way.

That’s exactly what Face du Monde did in this great video. The film focuses on the Yunnan province of China, a region in the southwest of the country that is filled with mountains, rice terraces and lakes. While the landscape of Yunnan is featured prominently in the video, so too are its people.

One of the reasons “This is Yunnan” was so successful — and why it won the People category — is the variety of footage. Of course there is drone footage used throughout the video, but there are also hyperlapses as well as close-up shots of a variety of people. The music choice also perfectly fits the mood of the video, which is always an important element.

The general feeling of this video is that the drone footage compliments the rest of the ground footage, not the other way around. Consider that next time you’re looking to do something to make your drone video stand out.

Stay tuned for more analysis of the rest of the winners of the Drone Video Awards.


April 9, 2018

Finalists Selected for $1,000 Weekly Drone Video Contest

More than one thousand drone videos have been narrowed down to five finalists in the inaugural AirVūz Drone Video of the Week contest. Now $1,000 is up for grabs.

AirVūz launched the “Drone Video of the Week” contest in which one content creator will be chosen for the weekly USD$1,000 prize. All drone videos uploaded to AirVuz.com are eligible to win. The contest began April 2.

Here are the five finalists in this week’s contest, as chosen by the AirVūz staff:

Voting is now open to the public. Votes can be cast for 48 hours, until the end of the day on Wednesday. Limit one vote per person per day.

The contest continues again this week. Content creators have until 11:59 p.m. CT on Sunday to upload their videos to AirVuz.com to be eligible for this week’s $1,000 prize.

The Drone Video of the Week contest follows the success of the inaugural AirVūz Drone Video Awards, which selected the best drone videos and photos of 2017. Voters chose winners in 13 categories from a total of more than 33,000 videos.


April 3, 2018

Drone Video Awards analysis: Perspective by Jay Worsley

We continue to look at the winning videos from the recent Drone Video Awards. First, we examined what made “Moscow Aerial 5K,” the winner of the Drone Video of the Year, so successful. We also talked about the FPV Video of the Year, “NURK’s Flight of the Year.”

With the two big winners already wrapped up, let’s move on to each of the category winners. Starting things off is the winning submission in the “Landscape” category. The winner there was “Perspective” by filmmaker and drone pilot Jay Worlsey.  Jay’s film beat out four others in the category that included footage of lots of amazing landscapes from all over the world.

So what made “Perspective” stand out as the winner? For starters, the subject matter was epic. Jay found tons of great locations that included plenty of textures and patterns that made for eye-catching footage. Of course, the footage itself was also high-quality video; as a filmmaker, Worsley uses top-of-the-line equipment, including his drone.

Additionally, the music in “Perspective” ties the whole film together nicely. It’s a serene song that matches up with the footage the viewer is seeing. On top of that, Jay edits the video cuts to line up with the music. That’s a simple but often overlooked skill that any pilot/video editor can do to enhance his or her drone video.

Perhaps more than anything, though, “Perspective” transports the viewer to a far-away location. You feel like you’re soaring through the mountains or over the forests as you watch the footage.

The Drone Video Awards isn’t the only acclaim this video has received. It was also nominated for the 2017 New York City Drone Film Festival. Worsley was also featured on the AirVūz original program “The Drone Dish,” where he talks more about the making of his film “Perspective.”

To see more of Jay Worlsey’s videos, follow him on his AirVūz profile or on Instagram.


March 29, 2018

Trevor Bauer: the pro athlete who races drones

Trevor Bauer is best known as a starting pitcher on the Cleveland Indians. If it were up to him, though, he’d rather make a name for himself in a different field.

“I’d rather be known as a nerd than an athlete,” Bauer told AirVuz.com back in 2016.

Bauer said those words about wanting to be known as a nerd on the same day he took part in his first-ever drone race. The 27-year-old pitcher has long been interested in science and technology. He studied engineering in college at UCLA, and often uses science and mathematical principles when fine-tuning his pitching mechanics.

Racing drones — or mini quadcopters — have been a passion of Bauer’s for several years. When he’s on the road during Cleveland’s long season (which spans from April to September — or October when the Indians are in the playoffs), Bauer brings his drone with him. He often flies freestyle with his first-person view (FPV) drone, performing tricks and maneuvers around obstacles.

“I’ll find a park and fly a couple packs freestyle and set up a race course just with natural obstacles, trees, bushes, whatever,” Bauer said. “I made some air gates out of PVC and pool noodles. I’ve been starting to set those up. Mostly just trying to work on control of the copter and making it do what I want it to do, and then figure out when I get out to races … so I can control it well enough I’ll be able to get through the course.”

Bauer even loves drones so much, he designated an entire page on his new website to his hobby. These are not the types of drones that other professional athletes are flying, though. Bauer custom builds each of his mini quads, using his technology background to make tweaks to his drones or to repair them if something breaks.

Often times, he’ll travel with multiple drones in case something happens with one of them. That was the case last summer when Bauer and the Indians were in Minneapolis for a series against the Minnesota Twins. As he often does on road trips, Bauer brought his backpack with drones and drone gear along for the ride.

He also had the chance to fly with one of the top FPV pilots in the world, Johnny Schaer (known in the drone world as JohnnyFPV). Schaer, a native of the Chicago area, is a Cubs fan and was able to give Bauer a bit of grief when Schaer’s Cubs beat Bauer and the Indians in the 2016 World Series.

“It was about a week after the World Series and I was like, ‘Johnny has a new video. Let me look. Oh, flying the W.’ Not good,” Bauer said. “It was a good video. I enjoyed it.”

Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer (left) and FPV pilot Johnny Schaer take to break to chat about their shared passion during a summer day in Minneapolis.

It was during that run to the World Series that Bauer put drones in the mainstream spotlight — though not necessarily in the way he would have preferred.

While working on one of his drones, the quad fired up and cut Bauer on his finger. The injury required stitches during the American League Championship Series against the Toronto Blue Jays. Bauer tried to pitch despite the injury, but his finger kept dripping blood while he was on the mound.

Drones were the talk of the baseball world, for better or worse — thanks in part to Bauer bringing his mini quad to a press conference to talk about the injury.

Bauer has been able to put that incident behind him. Others have joked about it in good nature, including the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. (Bauer got his start in the majors with the Diamondbacks back in 2012 before he was traded to Cleveland.)

The Aces gave away a Bauer drone bobblehead at one of their games during the 2017 season. Bauer, wearing a Reno uniform for the bobblehead, is also holding a drone as he pitches.

That whole incident certainly got people in the sports world talking about drones, which have already started to cross over a bit into the mainstream sports scene. Schaer is one of several pilots who has competed on the Drone Racing League, which is broadcast by ESPN.

Competing on national television is just one thing Schaer and Bauer share in common, besides their love of drones.

“We both finished second,” Bauer said.

Bauer and Schaer flew together at an abandoned building in Minneapolis, along with local FPV pilots Megan Proulx and Simon Cheng. Even though Bauer isn’t a high-profile name in the drone world, he held his own with the other pilots.

“It’s cool to see Trevor into FPV and drone racing because it’s a growing sport,” Schaer said. “I hope more guys, more ball players get into it. It’s just a ton of fun. Trevor’s an extremely nice guy, so to enjoy the sport with him, it’s awesome.”

Most baseball players have hobbies that they do during the season or in their downtown after the season ends. Some are hunters or fishers. Others are into playing music. Some collect fancy cars.

Bauer flies drones, and flies them fast.

It’s not just the FPV racing drones he’s into, either. Bauer finds time to fly camera drones as well, taking beautiful aerial photos and videos of various locations. And while the majority of camera drone pilots fly products made by Chinese drone manufacturer DJI, Bauer is loyal to the Yuneec brand.

Still, racing drones are Bauer’s primary interest. Although he’d flown for over a year, Bauer had never competed in a race until the fall of 2016 in Minnesota. A local drone group, MAV Meetup, held a race that Bauer joined.

No one there treated him any differently because he was a professional athlete. He was just another drone pilot trying to win a race.

“It’s fun to realize that they may do a different job than a lot of us have, but at the end of the day, we’re all just a bunch of nerds having fun,” said race organizer Aaron Sykes, founder of MAV Meetup. “He’s one of the guys. He’s a professional athlete in other walks of his life, but he comes to a community like ours and just enjoy himself and have fun. It’s been really rewarding to see.”

Bauer and the Indians now embark on the 2018 Major League Baseball season with the hopes of getting back to the World Series after falling short in 2017. Bauer will be an important piece for the Indians this year as he looks to build off a career-high 17 wins last season.

As he does, there’s little doubt he’ll continue to find time to fly his drone and spread the word about the growing hobby that he’s passionate about.

“The more people we can get into doing the freestyle and just going out and learning to fly is how it’s going to grow, I think,” Bauer said. “The more people that get into it, the more it’s going to be enjoyable. People don’t actually realize it until they do it.”


March 28, 2018

AirVūz to Award $1,000 Weekly Prize for Best Drone Video

One thousand dollars is up for grabs in a new weekly drone video contest.

AirVūz.com, the world’s leading drone video and photography sharing platform, announced it is launching the “Drone Video of the Week” contest in which one content creator will be chosen for the weekly USD$1,000 prize. All drone videos uploaded to AirVuz.com are eligible to win. The contest begins April 2.

Each week, the AirVūz curation staff will select five videos as finalists for the contest. Fans will have the chance to vote every Monday through Wednesday to choose the winner from the five finalists. Winning videos will be announced every Friday.

The Drone Video of the Week contest follows the success of the inaugural AirVūz Drone Video Awards, which selected the best drone videos and photos of 2017. Voters chose winners in 13 categories from a total of more than 33,000 videos.


March 22, 2018

Drone Video Awards analysis: NURKs Flight of the Year

Last week, we took a look at the winner of the Video of the Year award in the inaugural AirVūz Drone Video Awards. The video, “Moscow Aerial 5K” by Timelab.pro, was a visual work of art.

Now it’s time to look at the other big winner of the DVAs — the winner of the FPV Video of the Year. That award was given to Paul Nurkkala, aka nurkfpv, for his “NURK’s Flight of the Year // Trains, Bridges, Rapids, Mountains, Sunset, Gapping, Perching, Powerlooping.”

So what makes Nurk’s video award-worthy? For starters, it was one of those videos what made you say “whoa” as you watched it. When Nurk first released video of what he titled his flight of the year, it took the internet by storm. People in the FPV community praised him, while some outside of the FPV world scolded him for what they deemed was a risky flight. At any rate, the video received plenty of buzz.

There’s not much editing in Paul’s video. In fact, it’s just one shot of a flight from start to finish, with some music — a perfect song choice of “The Train from Washington” by Gil Scott-Heron — in the background. So unlike other videos that won their category in the Drone Video Awards, the editing was not the reason for Paul’s victory.

Instead, it was the things he was able to do with his quad during the flight. Flying under a moving train, inside a train car while it moved, and even a moment where his quad says hello to the train’s conductor all made this a compelling video. Nurk had already made a name for himself in the drone world by competing in the Drone Racing League and having success in other races, but this video definitely added to his profile in the community.

Paul has continued to produce plenty more great videos since his “Flight of the Year” was the talk of the town among FPV pilots. To see more of his work, check out his AirVūz profile. You can also follow him on Instagram.