(written from a Production point of view)
Edward R. "Ed" Brown, ASC, was the director of photography on the first two seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
His early career began in 1966 was spent as a camera operator. He started doing cinematography on feature films, beginning in 1972 with the Robert Redford vehicle The Hot Rock. In 1974 he worked on the television movie F. Scott Fitzgerald and 'The Last of the Belles' and later mini-series beginning in 1976 with Eleanor and Franklin (sharing an Emmy Award with Paul Lohmann), and regular series beginning in 1982 with Remington Steele by former Trek director Robert Butler. He also worked on many episodes of Scarecrow and Mrs. King with Corey Allen, Bibi Besch, Cliff Bole, Richard Cox, Daniel Davis, Paddi Edwards, Gregory Itzin, Winrich Kolbe, Richard Lynch, Sachi Parker, Robert Picardo, and Patti Yasutake.
His work on Scarecrow and Mrs. King was nominated for a Golden Globe "Outstanding Cinematography for a Series" and a "Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Regular Series" award by American Society of Cinematographers. Scarecrow and Mrs. King ended its fourth season after a time slot change and health problems of producer and director and star Kate Jackson. Brown became available to work on Star Trek. He became director of photography on "Encounter at Farpoint" on short notice after TOS cinematographer Jerry Finnerman decided against returning to the new series. Initially, it was intended that Brown would photograph only the pilot, and that if the series moved into production a replacement would be found. In the event, he stayed for the entirety of the first two seasons, and taught at film schools after. (citation needed • edit)
Brown is different from modern Trek television cinematographers. He utilized single camera, hard lighting, and low key lighting which William E. Snyder, Finnerman, and Al Francis used. However, Brown shifted towards featuring much more muted color tones and extensive use of shadows as seen on "The Cage". While perhaps more dramatically pleasing (and earning him an Emmy nomination for "The Big Goodbye"), his tendency to completely hard-light scenes risked showing the deficiencies of the set construction, and necessitated sticking cardboard and tape onto the LCARS screens in order to prevent too many reflections off the studio lights. However, these cardboard and tape are still present at the beginning of Season 3. Brown also refused to adopt a single visual style, often drastically altering his visuals between episodes to best fit the mood of the piece. (citation needed • edit)
While popular with the show's directors (in particular Rob Bowman), his style occasionally irked the producers, as the practice took too much time. Some actors occasionally complained that his lighting was uncomfortable. Fans and critics include Brown's cinematography among the things to nitpick about. Bowman later suggested that Brown would likely have been replaced much earlier if not for the other infighting among the actors and production staff. While no longer being actively involved with the series, several cast members, including Jonathan Frakes and Patrick Stewart sought his advice while learning how to direct. (citation needed • edit)