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Here is an attempt at a brief Video Production Equipment for Dummies:
Computer: If you havea Mac already, don’t go buy a PC because you are ready to edit. If you have a PC, don’t go buy a Mac because for FAR less money you can edit easily on your PC, if not already.
Software: If you have a Mac already, use Final Cut pro. If you have a PC and are not looking to network and edit abig-budget, feature length film, then buy Sony Vegas Pro. If you are looking to network and edit abig-budget, feature length film, then buy Avid Media Composer.
Camera: If your film is intended to be viewed in theaters, then buy a HDV camcorder, shoot in 24p, and buy a Redrock Micro M2 35mm lens adapter so that you can achieve a shallow depth of field. If your film is not intended to be viewed in theaters, thenbuy a3CCD, standard definition (SD), MiniDV camcorder preferrably with XLR mic inputs. (If XLR mic inputs are not in your budget, buy one without and then buy a Beachtek XLR adapter.)
Tripod: As long as your tripod budget is over $100, you should be good. A successful film can be made with very little panning and tilting. If you feel you need to be able to achieve smooth pans and tilts (for music or corporate videos for example) then spend $450+ on a tripod with a true fluid head.
Audio: Use a wireless or wired lavalier mic for interviews. Use a quality ($200+) shotgun microphone (Azen, Rode, Sennheiser) for almost all other purposes.
If you want to shoot music videos, then it would be well worth your money to buy a camera crane (also known as jib or boom arm. $400+) Check out http://www.bargaincamera.com and http://www.kesslercrane.com