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“I believe that drones can be used for good; they can be transformative”

A video interview with Johnny Miller


This video was first published on the Deutsche Welle Innovation Blog. It is being reposted here with permission, as DW Innovation is part of the MultiDrone project
Johnny Miller at Deutsche Welle Bonn (photo by Alexander Plaum)

While the drone market is growing rapidly, the industry still has to fight with a bad reputation. Media is full of bad examples and misuse of drones, be it in the hands of the military or extremists or people endangering passenger flights or intruding other people’s privacy.

There are ample examples however of drones being used for good and civil projects. They now deliver medicine to remote areas, help with reconnaissance after natural disasters and are even put to use to fight climate change and safeguard endangered species. They are also used for some new scale reporting in journalism and for filmmaking of course (as we are showing in the MultiDrone project among other things).

One person who combined both, the journalistic use as well as drones for good is Johnny Miller, an American photographer, a drone geek, and NGO activist, living in South Africa. At last year’s Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum, we had the pleasure of having Johnny on a panel together with a colleagues from DW. They talked about how drone productions differ from regular film productions and what social, political, and technical impact the use of drones in the media sphere has.

While in Bonn, our colleagues used the chance to sit down with Johnny for a short interview, asking him more about his work and ambition: He talks about the award winning Unequal Scenes project, the African Drone organization, and also addresses a number of more general questions regarding the social, political, and technical impact of drone usage in the media sphere. Enjoy.

Interview with Johnny Miller, recorded at DW headquarters (Bonn) in October 2018.

Interviewer: Alexander Plaum
Technical setup: Ruben Bouwmeester and Eva Lopez
Video editing: Eva Lopez
Special thanks to: Wilfried Runde and Tilman Wagner
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