You say you have little experience with video so going for a "professional" camera at this stage would not be beneficial.
I would go for a "point and shoot" camera that will look after itself with regard to aperture, focus and shutter speed.
Look at the Canon and Panasonic range. All the high end cameras video in HD and most record to SD cards.
You may also consider, in your budget, an editing suite for your PC, a tripod, LED lighting and a remote microphone.(for interviews) In my opinion Canon and Panasonic are more "global" in their choice of extras (such as SD cards) whereas Sony tends to stick to its own methods of doing things.
Your comment about lenses. Again most cameras have a good optical zoom range and some digital zoom (I do not use this as it degrades the picture by using only the centre of the CCD so less pixels) For example my camera has a 46x (optical), 60x and a 1500x zoom (optical & digital) The high end Panasonic use Leica lenses. Another factor is that in general the larger the lens diameter the better the performance in low light conditions.
The editing suite will allow you to record to DVD in SD or Blu-Ray provided your PC is kitted out with the correct DVD burners.
My kit is a Panasonic HC-V700 (now replaced with the 720) If you go Panasonic look at the 920. VideoStudio Pro X6 editing suite on a high spec PC (quad core chip, 8Gb memory etc.), Velbon tripod, 106 bulb LED light and a stereo condenser mic in a 15 ft. lead.
Make sure your choice of camera has a plug-in for a remote mic and a socket for headphones.