Posted 05 February 2016 - 05:54 PM
The trick to lighting these types of scenes is to carefully block the shot first, and then see where you can hide units. The typical approach is to have pools of light where it's absolutely necessary to see the actors or where it makes sense and let the rest fall off into darkness or have a overhead ambience if needed.
I've done this both on stage and in a real house. On stage, we had four connecting rooms. I had a handheld shot first tracking with a character from a bedroom set lit for day, into a moodily-lit living room with characters sitting around at a wake, into a dark kitchen with a window to the outside against the back wall with people around a table. Then the actress turned around and I led her as she ran back through the living room to the bedroom (now lit for night), broke down on the floor, and then went into her closet which led into a funeral parlor set as I followed here and circled the casket.
My approach was to first put up large skirted diffusion frames above the living room and bedroom as a base ambience. Then I put up white cards outside the windows and lit those with 1/2 CTB to blow them out. Put curtain sheers in front of the windows and fake plants outside to break up the white. Added 10k and 5k tungsten fresnels with 1/2 CTO outside windows for sunlight. Then started adding practicals into the bedroom and living room. To get the day/night lighting cue, we turned off the sunlight and turned on the practicals from the same lunch box while the camera was in the kitchen. Then I was able to hide a Kino in the corner of the kitchen near the door to light the actors at the table since I never turned around in there. Hid a few inkies on baby plates on the floor of the living room to glow the walls and furniture behind the couches, silhouetting the actors. Then for the funeral parlor, we had a single 2K up high on one of the flats as a heavy backlight onto the casket and lit the faces around it with the bounce.
So you can see that the approach was mostly one of adding ambience through soft overhead lights, adding big lights through windows, and then simply hiding lights on the floor wherever they made sense.
For the one in the house, I was not the DP but just the 1st AC. We had a 8.5 minute Steadicam shot starting outside the house following a girl as she approaches the front door, gets let in by her boyfriend, goes through a dark hallway to a living room where three other characters are sitting on the couch playing video games, walks past them into the kitchen and has a brief argument with another character across a small dinner table, then goes back into the living room and sits on a chair in the corner of the room, plays with her phone, argues with the boyfriend, then leaves. The boyfriend slumps on a couch and the other three roommates crowd in next to him and give him a hug.
So for the interiors on this one, I believe we mostly used Kino Flo 4x4s screwed into the ceiling, a few HMIs outside the windows and a china ball above the kitchen table. The rest of floor was taken care of with practicals. We also cut a hole in the ceiling for the Wevi wireless receiver and power supply and ran SDI cable along the wall to the kitchen for the director's monitor. So again, very similar approach - overhead soft lights for ambience, big lights through windows, practicals and small hidden lights where possible to accentuate and clean up.