I am looking to purchase a very basic starter video camera, audio and light set. All for under $5k! The videos will be posted mostly for internet viewing, but they will be corporate in nature so it needs to be very sharp and professional looking.
Also, what are the "hidden" items I'd need for my first solo shoot? I want to make sure I've got everything I need and my equipment is all buttoned up.
I would suggest getting yourself a cannon Xl2 mini dv camera. I have used them alot and really like them. I think the SD cameras are priced around 3 to 4 thousand. They have interchangeable lenses so you can throw a wide angle on if you like. They get a nice warm picture and are better in low light than panasonics. You can use the camera as a capture deck thru a firewire straight to your edit bay until you can purchase a separate deck. I wouldn't buy a used camera that I coudn't demo first. You never know what kind of abuse they have gone through. Get 2 wireless Lavalier mics and a mount for them for your camera. I believe a new Xl2 out of the box comes with the mount and a 20x zoom lens. You can get a descent manfrotto tripod new for under 200 and search for a 3 pack set of soft box lights. Prices vary greatly by brand. I would suggest buying a new camera, I have never advocated for purchasing used. I consistently see people get burned this way. Go to a local vendor and tell him what you want. If he gives you a price that works for your budget and completes your list great. If he qoutes a price higher than what you want to spend, tell him what you will give him for it. With the state of the economy people are dealing with customers.