It’s true that movie makers are using big gear which helps them get great results. But it is also true that a big portion of those results are not only attributed to gear, but also to matriculates planning and careful attention to details.
Filmmaker and youtuber Simon Cade made it a point to shoot with a Canon T3i and is still getting fantastic results? Why? Probably because he is shooting very cinematic footage and applying some very basic rules.
Simon notes the important clues that makes a video looks cinematic: Composition, Lighting, White Balance, The Exposure Triangle, Picture Style and Color Grading.
While each of those is a full world to master, learning just a bit on each one can have a great impact on your final product.
Here is a quick sequence that starts with Simon doing everything “wrong” and then applying the steps one by one to get a cinematic frame:
and here is a brutal before after: