Pilot Spotlight: Interview with WWD Ambassador Merr Watson
Tell us your story. How did you get started in the drone industry and when did that happen?
I started getting into drones roughly 3 years ago when I was watching an aerial video on YouTube. I was super intrigued and blown away by this unique fresh perspective a drone can truly capture from above that it inspired me to get involved and integrate something similar into my work. Three years ago, I started out with a Bebop Parrot drone which I had for a couple of months and then immediately upgraded to a DJI Phantom 4 when it first came out.
Ever since then, I’ve been super passionate about aerial photography and videography, I bring my drone pretty much everywhere with me wherever I go. I am also a huge travel advocate who loves creating unique content and getting people to really experience the beauty of a place vicariously through my travel videos.
My work mainly specialists in landscape, travel and aerial photography and has been featured from reputable brands including DJI, From Where I Drone, Moodygrams, Polar Pro and Airvuz on their social media accounts and websites. My passion for aerial photography has led me to establish a side business selling my aerial prints, Light-room presets as well as client video work alongside my online business that I run full time.
Tell us about your company/work/organization and your position.
I run a lifestyle based business with three other entrepreneurs where we provide like-minded individuals the necessary tools, training and resources to help one gain the skills of digital marketing which will enable them to either start an online business or grow an existing one. Having the flexibility that an online business gives us, has allowed my team and I to travel and experience many parts of the world while simultaneously pursuing what I love which is film and photography.
What kind of drone(s) do you fly and what's your favorite thing about it?
I started out flying a Bebop Parrot drone for a couple of months before I transitioned to a DJI Phantom 4. To this day, I fly a Phantom 4 Pro and absolutely love it! The quality of footage you're able to achieve with this drone is incredible and is one of my favorite things about this drone.
I am always able to produce extremely sharp, crisp 4K footage. The Phantom 4 Pro is also great to withstand extremely windy conditions. It's very accurate in its GPS location and elevation hover abilities making it much easier to tackle harsh weather conditions!
Have you learned any valuable lessons being in the drone industry you can share with our female drone community?
One valuable lesson I learnt after flying drones for some time is to never be overly ambitious early in the hobby, and pushing the limits too far. I've seen cases of people losing their drones because of pushing the battery life to its limit, trying to fly it in extremely harsh weather conditions, flying it too high or too low to give a few examples.
Start slow, get more comfortable in flying and be fully aware of the Do’s and Don’ts. That way, you are operating a drone safely without causing any potential harm to your surrounding and you have a higher probability of getting your drone back safely in one piece!
Another lesson is to invest in ND Filters! I can’t tell you how much of a game changer filters are in the drone industry especially when filming in bright sunny conditions. Filters allow you to reduce the amount of light that reaches your camera’s sensor so your footage doesn’t come out too over exposed or shaky/jittery. This will result in you achieving the highest maximum quality footage possible.
Whether its from a creative, commercial or humanitarian perspective, tell us about your most memorable drone flight you have piloted thus far.
One of my all time memorable piloting experience in a creative sense would be when I was flying my drone in Iceland. I was blown away by the country in itself, it has some of the most unique, abstract and picturesque landscapes I have ever seen. Not only was I able to capture incredible waterfalls, glaciers and mountain tops but some locations look so abstract in a bird’s eye view, it truly felt like I was on another planet. It took my droning experience to a whole new dynamic level that some of my greatest aerial shots were taken from there and ones that still render me speechless to this day.
What would you say to women and girls about the drone industry to spark their interest in getting involved?
Coming from a content creator point of view, if photography and film are either a hobby of yours, a passion of yours or something that has recently sparked an interest in you, drones are definitely a great addition to add into the mix as it truly takes your footage to whole new level and there really is no better time to invest in it than now.
Drone technology is not only becoming so much more accessible, more affordable, and easier-to-use than ever before, but the type of content you deliver from a drone is an incredibly impressive way to grab your audience's attention from a fresh, dynamic perspective that no other type of camera can achieve. It has personally changed the game for me in a creative sense and I feel it is definitely worth looking into if you're someone like me who wants to explore their creative side further.
What excites you most about more women joining the drone industry?
Seeing as it's been a male dominated industry for quite some time , it's such an incredible feeling to see more women, who are driven and passionate, getting into this industry and bringing in a fresh and dynamic perspective to it. I truly get inspired when I see women achieve big things in this space as we are shaping the future of the drone industry to cater to everyone and breaking away from this notion of conforming to certain stereotypes and people not 'looking the part' when flying a drone.
It's important that we see more women follow their passions using drones to prove this point and to empower more women to go after their dreams without ever second guessing themselves or feeling discouraged in any way.
Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about you?
Merr is a well-known female pilot and videographer in the drone industry. As the founder of Merr Watson Visuals, she travels the world, capturing landscapes, sights, and sounds of beautiful areas of our planet. With an ambition to help other female drone pilots come out of their shell and into their own, she is truly an inspiration in the droning realm.