Everyone doesn't have $10K to go drop on a new RED scarlet or epic. Most people only have a few hundred $$$ to spend on gear when they are first starting out. This is completely normal and everyone has to start somewhere.
I was fortunate enough to be gifted a canon t2i by my parents so I skipped the step of saving up for a camera. What if you are on a super low budget and you need the best gear to make your videos looks amazing - Let me show you a few things to help you on your journey
The camera is the most crucial (and expensive) part of your gear list. With new cameras coming out, cheap ones are very easy to obtain now, that put out cinematic quality.
The best camera you are going to find with the best features is a Canon T3i. Never buy these cameras new from best buy or target. They are overpriced and include s**t you don't need!
Ebay: The BEST place to buy camera gear. Let's take a look at some T3i's. A big thing is to search for "body only" This means it doesn't include a lens. "But don't I need a lens?" Yes - but the standard kit lens that it includes is terrible and I will show you a cheaper lens option that will make you a better filmmaker, as well as make your videos look better.
These are the best to look for "AS-IS". You'll have to check the description to make sure it works fine but usually a photo problem. As long as the video function works, thats all that matters. In this case the pop up flash doesn't work (who cares). This doesn't affect video at all and it gets you in the door for $195. This camera includes a battery and charger. All we need now is a lens and memory card.
Camera lenses is a huge topic that you could talk about for days, but we are on a budget so say goodbye to that $5k Zeiss ZE set you are looking at. Let's try to find one for under $150 (easy)
A 24mm is going to be standard focal length (similar to what your eye sees) and is a great all around lens. Here is one that canon makes
This lens is perfect for beginners and is super lightweight and a 2.8 lens (good for low light). After this lens + camera we are at $316 (you can even make an offer on the lens for $100-$110 and save some money).
Now that we have a camera and lens we need something to record the footage onto. The T3i records onto SD cards and these are CHEAP. Amazon is your best bet to find SD cards. a 64GB is probably the best size for video work (but if you're really broke, 16GB will be fine)
For cameras like the GH4 or A7S that record higher bit rates and more data. I would suggest sandisk extreme cards, but the T3i doesn't need a fast card since it's recording a pretty compressed image (it still looks amazing)
Here is a 64GB for $23, this will give you 10-15 hours of video recording. Right now we are at $339 for the total kit. Let's add a few more batteries to the list just so you have enough juice on set.
If you read my "WHY I SOLD MY SONY A7S AND BOUGHT A RED EPIC" you'd know I spent about $1000 for batteries for my RED. For your T3i, we can get a bundle of them for less than $30.
Now, you have 3 batteries/Camera/Lens/SD card for $360! You are ready to shoot some movies! If you have a little more room in the budget, I highly suggest we get a camera stabilizer. This will not only help your arms from holding the camera, it will also stabilize your footage and make it smooth, instead of that nasty handheld look. Let's find one for less than $50
Not my first choice, but if you're on a TIGHT budget you can't be picky. This will do the job! I know a few people who use this and it works pretty solid. After we add this to our list, our entire setup will cost $399! That is the price of most used cameras and we got a full shooting kit for it! Gotta love the internet.
I stand behind all of this gear 100% and I've most of it and definitely recommend it all! Here are some stills from video projects I found with this exact same setup.
For less than $400 we were able to get a full filmmaking kit, this is incredible! It's crazy that how in 2016 you can shoot videos that could go on the big screen for less than $1000. There is something to be said about where camera technology is going.
GEAR ISN'T THAT IMPORTANT
Don't forget, filmmaking is about the story and whose behind the camera. Just cause you aren't shooting on RED or have $10K lenses, doesn't mean your story telling is lacking. I've watched ton of videos shot on $60K setups and they looked terrible and I've watched videos shot on a T3i that look amazing. Learn your camera system and you will takeover the world. The upgrades will come, you just have to work for it. I owned Canon DSLR's from 2012-2014 before I got my GH4-A7S-RED. It's all about the journey you take with your gear and what you can do with it. Yeah the T3i isn't 4k and it doesn't shoot RAW but who cares? Show your clients you don't need all of that and you can still make a crazy visual. Filmmaking will never be about gear, it will always be about the stories you tell. I'll leave everyone with these 2 photos. The first is back in 2013 when I owned a 60D and $100 shoulder rig, the 2nd photo is currently in 2016 with my RED epic and $1,000 shoulder rig. It's not to show off or brag, just showing that if you get s**t done and continue to progress as a filmmaker, your gear will grow with you.