DFW based DP/Director
My opinion and the opinion of a lot of working DPs, own as much is reasonable for you to use and maintain. Lights/silks/bounces are your most important tool as a DP.
This is echoed by Greg Fraiser (Lion and Rogue One) who used his own DS-3s for Lion in India for 90% of the film (and rented the rest).
And Shane hurlbut that owns a couple miles worth of Baton lights (his signature light).
My #1 recommendation is get a Silk and a bounce (at least a 4x4 in each, but the bigger the better) and some solid C stands to put them on. That will do you better than any light under about $5000 for exteriors and work amazingly when you get some bigger lights for interiors.
Add over time. The newer Monolight style LED fixtures are a good investment. I would not recommend any of the panels on the market at this point.
You cant really go wrong investing in good lighting and it will last you for years and years.
My Personal kit:
3 Genaray monobright 1200 with Frensel attachements
1600 watt generator
2 Kino 2 banks.
1 4x4 silk and 1 4x4 bounce Silver/White
saving for some 8x8s soon.
all in all about $3k, which allows me to work in just about any condition.
Yup. Red Scarlet Dragon, Set of 250w hwi equivalent LEDs, dolly, and grip equipment.
Careful with non-profits. A lot of them will try and rip you off. Most successful non profits have massive marketing budgets.
Few people share because its entirely subjective to your market, your cost of doing business, and your types of clients.
Wedding Videos go from $500-$50k for a 5 min highlight video. Music Videos go from nothing to ~$100k as a cinematographer.
You can get away with charging a lot more for indie level work in Miami or Dallas, because there is a lot less competition, then say LA.
If you own equipment and do a certain type of job regularly, you can do that much cheaper than someone who has to rent.
I charge $2000/day in Dallas shooting music videos, commercials, and corporates (w/edits). If I were in LA, I doubt I could get more than half of that (tho I would probably work more shoot days). But Less for features or TV.
I've been taking mine on corporates because I sold all my other gear. With the LLO going to 1080p web, I've had no problems with low light stuff, pushed up to 4000 with minimal NR.
What I've seen out of the Helium I think 6400-10000 could totally feasible for the same type work.
Pretty much anything Rode makes is awesome. Videomic Pro or NTG1 (+) are around 250, depending on your input needs.
Really need to invest in a Blimp and boom asap to maximize the effectiveness of a shotgun. Minimium getting a deadcat (which is like $40) will help alot.
I'm by no means a wedding videographer (I hate shooting weddings). I've done a good 20 or so and I've done real documentary work.
My #1 recommendation is get as much audio as possible.
Get interviews or video messages with siblings/friends. Even the bride/groom if you can.
These people know the couple better than you, let them tell the story for you.