Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › Technique › Miscellaneous Techniques › Better Lighting › For moody lighting, try ha
For moody lighting, try having most of the light come from the side or slightly behind the actors (but not DIRECTLY behind). I would not aim the light at the actors, but rather bounce it off a large white posterboard. That will soften the light. For the shot you’ve provided to us, I’d put the light and poster board to camera left, sort of behind the actors. If there’s room, I might put another white posterboard at the far right, to provide a little fill. If this is susposed to be an extremely dramatic moment, you could skip the second posterboard.
As for judging the exposure, I’m not sure what to tell you. Maybe you could do some tests at different exposures, and learn what brightness to look for in your viewfinder.