Multimedia tools are expensive and they have a relatively short shelf life. If you can get five years out of a tool before it becomes obsolete or its complicated circuitry gets damaged you are lucky. Mine have a couple years to go before they need to be replaced. My kit is a combination of tools begged, borrowed and bought. Those items I have bought might be termed industry standard. Buying the cheapest product often isn’t cost effective, while a bleeding edge product can seldom be justified monetarily.
The brain of my multimedia kit is a computer. It functions as word processor, sound recorder, picture library, video editor, research tool and gateway to the internet. With a modern point and shoot camera like the Canon G11 you could do 60% of what I can. Unfortunately to create professional quality work and to be free to experiment, that missing 40% requires more investment.
Quality sound is a huge issue for creating video. People will sit through bad video but will walk if they can’t hear the sound track. I use an older Marantz 660 digital recorder that allows the use of two XLR quality microphones for true stereo production. The Marantz is great for podcasts, audio interviews or it can be used to record a separate sound track to be used with video productions. The microphone that I use was rescued from a junk pile and brought back to life with loving care.
My school JVC video camera provides the raw video content I need as well as professional quality sound with the ability to use two quality microphones with XLR output. I need a simple set up because I am either on my own or working with a group of students. I usually have a shotgun microphone mounted on the camera. It cuts through ambient noise and delivers a crisp and clear sound track.
The good news is that with this set of tools I can create professional content. The bad news is there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to fully learn how to use the tools to their potential. But when I do pick the camera up to shoot a scene I know that the only thing limiting the outcome of the shot is my skill set and vision. And that is something to be grateful for.