Web video approaches to get you looking like a pro (£300+)
If you have a bit of money to spare and want to kit yourself out with pro level kit then you will find yourself spoilt for choice.
That said, the choice of recording format shrinks at this level - not because there aren't great camcorders at around the £400 mark but because most people are looking at high definition - HDV tape or High Definition Hard disk camcorders.
The hard disk options are great but they record in a format that can be tricky to edit so the popular choice seems to be for tape based camcorders. In a recent survey I did the Sony A1HE, Canon HV20 and the Canon XH1 came out as the most popular.
If you've got money left you could really splash out and buy the full versions of Premier and Final Cut Pro. But Premier Elements and FinalCut Express will work perfectly well with these camcorders.
Other options at this level include Sony Vegas and Avid Express.
All are fit for purpose but you may have to splash out for an even more powerful computer and lots more storage to get the best out of these applications.
Tripod: A decent video tripod is a must if you are splashing out on a good camcorder. Be prepared to spend at least £400 pounds on a tripod that will last.
Sound: You should also be prepared to spend a reasonable amount on microphones. I would look at getting hold of a 'reporters' microphone' like the Beyer Dynamic M58 (£150). You may also want a decent tie-clip microphone. Something like the Sony ECM44B wont break the bank at around £160, but it's clunky. Many people opt for a wireless microphone set up but expect to pay over £300 for decent set-up.
Lights: An on-board light is a handy addition to a camera kit. PAG are a well-known brand in broadcast circles and they do a neat camcorder light at around £200.
Hopefully there is enough there to get you started. There are millions of iterations of kit but the most important thing is that it's got to fit the way you work.
Set a budget and then explore what there is in the price range. When you buy a camera, don't buy from anywhere that won't let you try the camera first. Don't worry about looking like you don't know what you are doing. See how it feels in your hands. Once the video bug bites you're going to be carrying it around a lot.
Andy Dickinson teaches digital and online journalism and is course leader for the BA Digital Journalism Production at the University of Central Lancashire.