I'll just fill out the sticky...
1) What is your budget? How much money can you spend right away, and do you think you can get more money to invest in the future?
I've got between $470-$520, and I might have about $20-$40 more in the next month.
2) What experience do you already have with cameras? Have you ever even used one before? Have you helped your friend out with his camera? Have you owned your own?
The best video camera I've used is my Kodak Zi6, but I can make and edit some decent video. I've been using a film slr for about 6 months now though so I'm all set on exposing shots and framing a good picture. I know my way around a camera.
2) What gear, if any, do you currently have? (tripod, old camera lenses, mics, etc)
Kodak Zi6, medium sized tripod
4) What are you planning to shoot and how do you want to use your camera? Are you going to use this with the sole purpose of shooting skiing? or do you think you might try other stuff as well (movies, documentaries, short films, etc)
Using this camera for ski edits and I'll definitely do some short films and documentaries. I'm gonna need this thing for a lot of school projects.
5) Do you want a camera that you can hand to your friends, that could or could not have film experience, and let them shoot you? or will you be doing all the filming?
I'm the only one using this.
6) When filming skiing, how do you tend to shoot? (follow cams, leave it on record on a tripod and hike, film from a tripod, etc)
Filming from a tripod and doing some follow cam work, mostly follow cam though.
7) What computer do you currently have/use to edit (if not currently editing, what would you most likely use)? If you can provide specifics, such as hard drive space, RAM, processor size, that would be great.
I've got a dell mini 10v and i use iMovie to edit. It's a small computer, but it worked well for the 8 minute documentary I made.
7) What program do you currently edit on? How familiar are you with it (1- just learning; 10- I can make tutorials and know the keyboard layout)
I'm using iMovie '09 and I'm decent using the program, but not an expert. I learn quickly though so any new features I need will be easy to handle.
The camera's I've been looking at so far are:
Canon Vixia HF S20
Canon Vixia HF M300
Canon EOS 550d
Any other suggestions would be great. Sorry for the hellishly long post.