then whatever the camera is not looking at can be total darkness. If what the camcorder sees is a tiny dot of a subject, then that could be a problem, but if it is at least a "reasonably" large image of the brightly lit subject - full height or better fitting in the frame top to bottom, the captured video should be fine.
If EVERYTHING is a low-light environment, that is when most consumer camcorders will get into trouble.
While we can't see what you see, I *think* I understand the lighting environment having shot a few bands at local venues. I *think* you'll probably be fine starting in the prosumer environments - assuming you don't stray from the lighting description. But... as far as I know, the least expensive high definition camcorder with XLR connectors with large enough lenses (and using miniDV tape) will be the Canon XHA1. The Sony HDR-FX7 will work, but you'll need an XLR adapter (juicedLink, BeachTek, among others). The HDR-FX1000 will work well - even in a little lower lighting - but it will need an XLR adapter, too. There are some AVCHD cams in the Panasonic ACCAM line, but they have their own challenges and a poorly defined process flow (especially the archiving step). The Sony HVR-A1 has small lenses and *might* not get the lighting coverage you want.
A wireless lav will probably be best (Sennheiser, Audio Technica)... I would use a half decent condenser mic (Audio Technica) rather than a boundary mic for room ambiance...
I'm a stand-up comedian looking to improve web presence and this starts with getting better quality video clips on my site.
I really want to buy my first professional camcorder, which I think can be a good investment that ultimately will pay for itself with the content and ability to produce my own stuff.
So a couple of facts about whats important to me, in this case:
1) I am often shooting in interesting lighting conditions, as in the room is dark, but the stage/subject is bright.
2) I really want HD.
3) Sound is crucial. I am willing to spend to get some decent mics, but I need some configuration that has external XLR input (so I could either have one boom mic, or possibly a line in from the mixer at the club plus another boundary mic picking up the room. Either or works.
What professional camcorder best offers this under $5000?