How would you suggest lighting a house at night? For example: All the house lights are off. A man wakes up after hearing a noise and goes downstairs to see if anyone is there.
If there are no lights on in the house, then the light will naturally have to come from outside the house through windows or doorways or whatever. What you want that light to be is up to you. It could be moonlight (usually gelled 1/2 blue), sodium vapor street lights (gelled orange), neon street signs (all sorts of different colors), or whatever you want.

If you want it to feel dark, then you can't be afraid of the dark, meaning backlighting, silhouettes...ect.


Lots of shadows, light from street lamps spilling in through the window sheers, blue gels to simulate moonlight (cast through cookies to simulate blinds), perhaps night lights as motivation for some of the lighting, high intensity, moving lights occasionally to simulate a passing car on the street outside...

Lots of fun things to draw from.

On one of my projects, I plan to use the light from a digital clock radio as motivation to light a character's face, using green from the clock and blue from the window near the bed. I may use red orange from the clock to give it some warm/cool contrast. Haven't decided yet. I am still in pre-production planning.
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Avoiding grain

Thanks, they are good ideas. will have to go for the moon light as it is set in the country.

I was also wondering how bright I will need it to be? Needs to look dark (night) but light enough to see good detail. How do you avoid getting grainy or hazy blacks?


Grain comes from turning the gain up on the camera. Just make sure your lights are bright enough where you can keep from having to turn up the gain. Bounced and ambient light will be fun trying to control if all your walls are white, but that's what cookies and gobos are for, to create shadows and contrast. But with digital, your dynamic range is lower, so you'll want some ambient light anyway. Just make shadows by strategically blocking some light from hitting the scene.



I would suggest candles , perhaps you could incorporate that into your film.
You could also choose to use low lighting and place it symmetrically at each side of the room and use mirrors with maybe orange gels and even diffuse them.