The simple answer is of course you need a good set of professional equipment to create a feature film that you are planning to generate income from. However most people honestly do not have the access to the cash required to purchase the equipment for strict hobby purposes. This can make it very complicated for people who are looking into breaking into the movie industry. Finding yourself in this position is not only zero fun at all but it can be extremely bad for the quality of the movies that you are making.
As a general rule of thumb, you can work with only a few pieces of professional equipment. Once you have the basic equipment it is much easier to start slowly replacing the rest of the equipment that you have and producing feature films that are a much higher quality. In general, if you take your time and shop around you can also find some very good deals on equipment that will allow you to make the most of a limited budget.
In the beginning as you are trying to work towards building up your equipment you are probably going to want to purchase at a minimum a good camera. While this does not have to be a professional camera, you are certainly going to want something that allows you some options with focus, range and even the lighting controls. While professional cameras are easily priced at $5,000 and upwards, simply looking for a good digital camcorder in the range of $500 and up should be sufficient for a brief period until you can build up other equipment. Searching around for the best camera you can afford is important, and if you are looking to make good quality films you need to be very concerned with the quality of the recording so shopping around is essential.
Once you have purchased the camera you need to start considering exactly what you want to record. If you are merely interested in doing real films using only real people and images your needs are likely much less extensive. However, if you envision using awesome special effects such as shown in movies like Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and even Men in Black you are going to need a green room. This can be set up quite inexpensively and can be adjusted based upon your budget, as well as the amount of space you have available.
The best thing to do is to devote an entire room to your green screen; this can be done by sealing up doors and painting the entire room an appropriate shade of green. Most people though, especially in the beginning do not have this as an available option. If you find yourself in this position you can purchase green screen drape which is technically called a chromakey, purchasing a muslin styled chromakey is most recommended since the quality is much better, however cheaper plastic models can be used as a replacement.
The chromakey is absolutely essential if you cannot devote an entire room to the green screen if you want to use animations of any form in your feature videos. Aside from the purchase of a chromakey, you will need to purchase either appropriate light trees, or you can make light trees using good industrial spotlights. You will need a minimum of two so you can effectively light up the chromakey behind you. Once you have set up your green screen area the last major purchase that you will need is a good set of animation software. This will allow you to insert the animations into your digitally recorded video and create many of the great special effects that you see in feature films.
While this might seem like a huge shopping list to make those feature films of your dreams it is quite brief. There is a lot of equipment that is involved for advanced users such as sound equipment, wind machines and even lighting supplies but having the basic equipment can allow you to get started and expand your skills without breaking the bank. This also gives you plenty of time to practice with each new piece of equipment you buy before moving onto the next so you can harness the full potential of your film making.