There have been a lot of threads recently on this site about people thinking about buying a camera to do some filming and the answers have been pretty consistent: DSLRs.
For narrative I can only recommend a DLSR for the best most film like results on a budget.
Of course it’s not limited to narrative. I’ve shot documentaries, music videos, short and feature films on these cameras.
The Canon 5DMKII has the prettiest picture but the 7D is great too.
I believe the 60D is the best value for money at the moment. There are others from Nikon and Panasonic but I’ve never used them. Combined with some nice old lenses and you'll be able to create a beautiful film look.
My Vimeo page (http://www.vimeo.com/user4844659/videos
) has many examples of a 7D (Which is the same image quality as the 60D) with many various old lenses.
In each description of the videos I wrote which lenses I used. If you'd like to see what it can look like you can watch them if you wish.
Or Google will produce many results.
Accessories you may need are a base plate and rails to mount a follow focus and a matte box.
You'll also need a decent tripod, and maybe a camera slider to add some dramatic movement to your shots.
You may also want a handheld rig for those... handheld shots...
Here's a list of some stuff I've used and can vouch for with prices.
Tripod Head; http://www.amazon.co.uk/Manfrotto-Pr...1451724&sr=1-4
Tripod Legs; http://www.amazon.co.uk/Manfrotto-05...1451840&sr=1-1
Slider; (Little bit of DIY involved but a great low cost slider, info here: http://www.zazaslider.com/
Follow Focus; http://www.ebay.ie/itm/Trusmt-Follow...ht_3792wt_1189
Baseplate/Rig; (Take a chance on a bid with one of these auctions, you'll often get lucky) http://shop.ebay.com/gini-2011/m.htm...d=249681849175
Ebay is your friend. Old manual primes I have found to be the best, especially for narrative work. I found modern Canon lenses don't stand up to the quality of much much older manual lenses.
You'll want to build yourself a set of prime lenses for narrative work. You can use zooms if you wish but they’re usually not as good optically and if you want fast aperture you’ll have to pay the price for it.
If you do decide to choose zooms to go in your kit, make sure it’s a constant aperture zoom lens.
That means that the aperture doesn’t change when you zoom on the lens.
Many of them are F3.5-F4.5 which means at say 50mm it’s at F3.5 but if you zoom to 80mm the aperture will be F4.5 resulting in your video going darker.
So prime lens focal lengths; 28mm 35mm 50mm 85mm 100mm 135mm
You won't need all of them to start with, build a collection over time.
Try to go for the lowest F-Stop you can afford but generally F2.8 or lower will be substantial.
There are also many more focal lengths from 8mm to 1000mm but the ones I mentioned above will be your most used.
Brands of lenses I can recommend;
Carl Zeiss Jena
Most of the above can be had for under €100 on E-bay
And if you can afford them the kings would have to be;
Contax Zeiss or
There are many lenses out there, some are sharper than others, some are more contrasty than others.
And some are just special. Example, The Helios 40-2. Check it out.
I would use different kinds of lenses for different projects. I have a set of Zuiko lenses that are really sharp that I use mostly for documentary work. I have some Pentax lenses that have great bokeh and contrast that I love to use outside in daylight. I also have my Russian lenses (Jupiter, Helios, Mir) that have a very classic film look to them that I’ve been using regularly for narrative work.
A great resource on old lenses is here, check out the review and gallery section.
All of these lenses can be adapted to a Canon DSLR with a simple adapter that costs between €10-€40 and can be found on E-bay.
For example search M42 to EOS adapter.
One thing not to be overlooked, Recording sound into these cameras is not great. In fact generally it’s pretty bad. So I recommend you record audio separately and sync it up later in post.
So if you’re going to sync it up manually don’t forget your clapper board/slate!
You can also use a program called pluraleyes, http://www.singularsoftware.com/pluraleyes.html
A great cheap device for recording audio is;
ZOOM H4N: http://www.amazon.co.uk/ZOOM-H4N-REC...2054507&sr=8-1
TASCAM Dr-100 http://www.amazon.co.uk/TASCAM-DR-10...097371&sr=8-10
You’ll also need a microphone and a boom pole. But it’s much better if you can get someone else to do your audio who might have their own equipment and can focus solely on that leaving you to focus on your camera work.
I hope that’s all the information you’ll need to go out and buy your first camera, get set up and start shooting.