'Home Before Dark' production designer Nelson Coates talks sets, location, and houses with secrets

Apple Tv Home Before Dark Key Art 16
Apple Tv Home Before Dark Key Art 16 (Image credit: Apple TV+)

What you need to know

  • "Home Before Dark" hit Apple TV+ last week.
  • The show is based on a real-life mystery.
  • Production designer Nelson Coates has been speaking about setting everything up.

"Home Before Dark" has only been available on Apple TV+ for a week but it's already getting plenty of attention. The show's based on the real-life story of Hidle Lysiak, a young journalist who stumbled upon a crime scene in her home town and then reported on it for the local newspaper – and it looks very, very good. Now, production designer Nelson Coates has been talking to Variety about finding the right location in which to film – the real story went down in a small town.

The show was set "in a small fishing town in the Pacific North West" with the plan being to meld the idea of a small town with one that had enough about it to be intriguing to audiences. But finding that was easier said than done, according to the report.

Writers Hillary Cunin, Dana Fox and Dara Resnik had initially envisioned a small town with a lake, but despite scouting, the team couldn't find one. Coates show them the town of Steveston. "It had fisheries and everyone got excited when I explained that this was the perfect setting where kids could be out on their bikes and you'd feel safe, but it still had this sense of mystery," explains Coates.

Filming in Vancouver winter has its own problems, not least the fact that daylight is at a premium. With night drawing in around 4:00 pm, the crew "built a lot of the school environments and used a lot of ways to make it seem like there was daylight, even though we didn't have it," Coates points out.

While interior shots of the main character's family home were filmed in a warehouse, the exterior shots needed a house that fit the bill. Again, finding one proved difficult. And even when one was located, it still needed work.

Coates says he "scouted like crazy to find just the right house," but once they found it, they had to do exterior work — adding on shutters, foliage and the garage.

If all that sounds like hard work, you're probably right. You can read the full report over at Variety and you can watch "Home Before Dark" on Apple TV, now.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.