Setting the Record

Third grader Louisa Royer becomes the world’s youngest drone videographer.

It’s quite an accomplishment for an eight-year-old to set a record held by Guinness World Records, and Evansville Day School third-grader Louisa Royer can say she has. Earlier this month, she was named the youngest drone videographer in the world.

How does one so young achieve such a milestone? Ambition. Louisa’s journey started two years ago with the support of her parents Mark and Allison Royer, ear, nose, and throat surgeons at Family ENT Specialists, which practices primarily at Evansville Sinus Center. A science enthusiast, Louisa requested a drone with picture and video capabilities for Christmas 2022 so she could see inaccessible plants and environments. Using the drone required a lot of practice and an online drone safety class with the Federal Aviation Administration, plus learning how to use video editing software.

“I really like being about to get close to stuff I couldn’t before, like a dangerous plant. I could get close to it with a drone,” says Louisa, who specifically steers clear of poison ivy.

She films with the drone all around Evansville and Newburgh, Indiana, as well as on family trips and holidays. On an Evansville Day School-organized trip to Hungary and Romania, Louisa’s retired science teacher, Soi Powell, suggested she compile her best footage from the trip into a film and helped her submit the result to film festivals. The resulting three-minute film, “Dangerous Plants,” uses footage from her DJI Mini 2, plus images of Louisa controlling the drone and segments of on-camera interviews with her. Her parents helped her with the editing process, but the rest was all her.

The name for the documentary, “Dangerous Plants,” came from a part of the interview where her father asked her about her passion for drone videography. “Dangerous Plants” was one of 30 entries screened Aug. 26-27, 2023, at the Thunderbird Drone Festival in Woodward, Oklahoma. The film won the “Best New Pilot” award at the Arizona DroneFest Film Festival last October – which made Louisa stand out to the Guinness World Records judges – and was featured at the Bloomington, Indiana, International Film Festival this April.

But Louisa, the Royer’s oldest daughter, never set out to achieve a world record. She just followed her passion. Clicking around YouTube Kids one day, she found Guinness World Records’ channel and videos of other drone-related world records, including one of a 13-year-old boy using his drone for mapping. Louisa’s mind set on being recognized by the world record keeper. The criteria required that Louisa put together a professional-grade video, get it attested to by professional videographers, and win an award at an international film festival.

It took the Guinness judges three months to verify the criteria, and Louisa was presented with a plaque for her achievement by the head of EDS’ primary school, Robin Renschler. Louisa posts her films on YouTube, including one titled “My Hometown” from locations around Evansville and Newburgh.

“I like doing Wesselman Woods from above, you can see the playscape,” Louisa says. “I also really like taking videos and photos of my siblings. My little sister does soccer, so I’ll take videos of her during soccer.”

“I’m really impressed by the variety of films she makes. In a given month, she’ll do shots of her brother, Henry, playing basketball, historic buildings Downtown, and nature scenes from a boat. She recently did some amazing videos in Australia and a really cool one of the family wakeboarding on Mother’s Day,” her father Mark says.

She aspires to one day become a scientist, though she will continue using her drone. While she has no plans to break any more records, she has her lens trained on submitting more of her films to film festivals.

Previous article
Next article
Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti joined Tucker Publishing Group in September 2022 as a staff writer. She graduated from Gettysburg College in 2020 with a bachelors degree in English. A Connecticut native, Maggie has ridden horses for 15 years and has hunt seat competition experience on the East Coast.

Related Articles

Latest Articles