John Snedden, an operator currently based in San Diego, Calif., was born in Charleston, West Virginia, and raised in a small town in Illinois. In 1984, Snedden enlisted in the U.S. Navy where he served for 20 years as a cameraman, documenting Navy and Marine Corps personnel missions in both 16 mm film and video formats. Snedden began his civilian career in 2005 as a film loader for Stu Segall Productions in San Diego. He joined the Guild and quickly moved up through the ranks, becoming an operator on the 2009 MGM feature Hit and Run.
Andrew Eckblad introduced himself to Snedden by email. He had just been awarded a new filmmaker grant by Panavision and was looking for a cinematographer to shoot the 10-minute film Brite Eyes that he wrote and planned to direct.
"Brite Eyes takes places in a black-and-white world where a group of people in a village come across a girl with color in her eyes," Snedden describes. "They want to be like her. Andrew insisted on producing his story on film, because there is something magical about the look."
San Diego's Felicita Park was used to capture exterior locations. Scenes that included smoke and rain effects were shot with as many as four 16 mm cameras, including a Photo-Sonics Actionmaster that records up to 500 fps. Kodak Vision2 500T 7218 film was Snedden's primary stock. "We filmed scenes from six to 300 frames per second to emphasize transitional moments," Snedden states. "When a woman tries to comfort the crying girl, a teardrop falls onto her hand in color. We used a bit of slow motion to punctuate that shot which conveys the character's feelings without words. The colors were converted to black and white during offline postproduction with the exception of the girl's eyes and the teardrop."