Gear to Get You Started in Video Production

As a student of multimedia production, I am always looking for budget-friendly solutions for gear. Although I consider my gear affordable I realize that some of you may not, so I will try to provide options. This list provides the gear necessary to get you started in video production.
1.  Camera
I highly recommend the Canon T2i (550D) with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens or, if you can afford the extra $200, the Canon T2i (550D) with EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Zoom Lens.  The zoom lens will provide greater flexibility and is sufficient for most projects.  I also suggest purchasing the following accessories:  a bag, an extra battery (LP-E8), a Sunpak 67mm CPL Filter and a 67mm UV Filter.  The pros of using this camera are quality and flexibility.  You can take still photos and shoot full HD video (1920x1080p) with the same camera.  The only considerations with shooting video with this are that you need a solution for capturing professional audio (I will discuss this later) and that you can only shoot about 12 minutes continuously before having to stop recording and starting a new clip.  This isn't a big deal for most projects.  If you are conducting a longer interview, then you simply do this while the interviewer stalls or is asking a question (it only takes a few seconds to stop and start again).  If this is too much for you, or you want an affordable solution for zoom and pan shots, check out this Sanyo that shoots Full 1080p.  It doesn't offer all the control that the T2i does, but the quality is great for the money.  I have one of each and use them both.
2.  Recording Media
I use a Class 10 SanDisk 8GB SDHC memory card in my camera.  I suggest having a back-up, as well. I can get about 20-minutes of 1920x1080p HD video on each card, so plan accordingly.  I transfer my footage to my laptop and then re-use the same card, but I would have more if I could afford it.  SanDisk also makes 16GB and 32GB cards.
3.  Tripod
If you will be using mostly set shots (little to no movement), you can get an inexpensive tripod.  For something better check out this Davis & Sanford tripod or if you have money to spare, the Manfrotto 504HD.
4.  Sound
After much research, I decided to try out the Zoom H4n with an Audio-Technica AT803 lavalier microphone (great for interviews) and a 10-ft. XLR cable (or longer if needed) to connect the microphone to the Zoom H4n.  If you don't already have a decent pair, get some headphones to monitor your recording levels on the Zoom.  To save time in post-production, you can connect your Zoom to the camera's audio input with a 3.5mm cable, so the audio from the Zoom is already synchronized with the video.  You may have to adjust your levels, then unplug the headphones to use the jack to plug into the camera.  If so, it's OK, you can still monitor levels visually on the Zoom. 
5.  Lighting
I try to use natural lighting as much as possible, but Supplies for Video Production Light Kits is a video that identifies a good DIY solution.  It is just one video in an educational series about lighting for video.  This DIY Kit includes: Clamp LightsBar TowelsDaylight BulbsIndoor Tungsten lights, ClothespinsStinger (short extension cord)Extension CordParchment Paper and Duffel Bag.
Also recommended in the Extras for Video Production Light Kits video are Gaffers tapeBlack Foil and Light Stands.  The video mentions also mentions a dimmer switch, but I don't see much use for that.
6.  Post-production
I have a MacBook Pro and use Final Cut Pro at work and Final Cut Express at home.  If you can afford the Pro, get it.  If not, Express does everything you will need to do for nearly every project.  If you have a PC, try Avid's Media Composer or Adobe's Premiere Pro CS5.  All are available for Mac, as well.  Moving beyond the basics, I encourage you to check out Adobe After Effects for motion graphics.  Creating motion graphics can add a lot to even the most basic videos.  Don't forget... students can usually get a discounted rate for all of this software.  After editing, I either export for the web or create a DVD in iDVD on my Mac.  I'm not familiar with the PC equivalent.
Preview Samples
My Videos page displays videos in which I have used this equipment (except for the tripods and DIY lighting - I use a cheap tripod but am fortunate enough to have access to professional lighting).  This will help you get an idea of what the camera quality is (cameras used are listed below video under "tags" if you click the title), as well as how the audio sounds with the AT803 and Zoom H4n.