You need a light.
In the car.
I'm wondering how some of you professionals would have lit that scene, understanding I'm on a limited/nonexistent budget.
That's going to be a tough one for professionals to answer. If professionals don't have the budget -- or in certain selected instances, sufficient time in lieu of budget-- to pull off a certain shot or effect, they don't do it.
Another tough thing to answer: you're asking a bunch of effects people to make judgments on lighting techniques that are best made by directors of photography, aka DP's, and lighting directors. You don't always need fancy lighting instruments to pull off the proper look for a shot, but you DO need to know where to place the lights, how intense they need to be, their softness/hardness, flagging....
....in short, going over a book on basic cinematic lighting would probably be a really good thing to do.
Thanks for the advice. I only asked here because last time there were a few guys who went really in depth into lighting, so I thought maybe some people like that would show up again.
Like learning to use a saw before you learn to use a hammer, you should study lighting before you attempt to shoot in weird situations.
Lighting is as much a craft as photograpy.
There are dozens of websites dedicated to teaching you how to light for video, use a light meter, use a waveform monitor, light creativiely to enhance the scene, and to anticipateand avoid all of the common lighting mistakes.
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I tell folks that want to learn how to make movies all the time, don't study movies to learn lighting, study the masters. Look here, or here, or here, or here (watch the slide show). Look at how the artist uses light and color to convey emotion. Read about how photographers being trained by great photographers mimic great painting. Take an art class or at least an art history class. One of the greatest cameraman that ever lived, Jack Cardiff, is a great artist and clearly states in the documentary on his life that his inspiration has always been great art.
Your car scenes needs more light coming from behind the actor, lighting the short side of the face and separating him from the background. You'd want to try and achieve a dark, light, dark light tone in your scene.
Good luck with your filmmaking. I've been at it for more nearly a half century. I still learn things every time I pick up a camera or look at a painting, or the sky, or . . . you get the idea.