Desktop Effects Have Come a Long Way: Russian Transformers Shot on a Canon T2i
This DIY Russian "adaptation" of Michael Bay's Transformers was shot in two hours and edited in a month. Despite it copying the worst Hollywood has to offer (the second Transformers was one of the least-entertaining action films I've ever seen, and I'm not the only one to think that -- it has a 20% rating on Rotten Tomatoes), props to these guys. Presumably they will get paid effects work out of this demo, and in that regard it's a good calling-card type of project. Remember when you used to need a room-sized computer to do this kind of stuff? Shot on a Canon T2i (known as the 550D overseas) and Nikon D5000, animated in 3ds Max.
If you want to learn 3ds Max, check out 3ds Max 2011 Essential Training ($99 for the whole course on DVD, or included with a $25/month membership that gives you access to unlimited courses). ((I recommend Lynda.com for training because it's how I learned Photoshop, which got me a job MTV.))