A couple of years ago I bought a Digital Video Camera , together with my father, a Sony DCR TVR 9E. I was used to capture images from it using a TV Card (BT chipset), however grabbing a real animation from it wasn't really realistic. We were looking into a way to be able to convert a Video Tape to a CD with an MPEG or something similar on it.
We ran into a cheap (40 Euro) FireWire card , so we decided to try it and see whether we could use the device. At first I installed the card in my father's machine , which uses some weird kind of software from Redmond, it detected the card, however after multiple tries the operating system was unable to recognise the Video Camera as being a Video Camera.
Since I had no intentions of wasting my time on an unstable platform that didn't even detect hardware correctly, the decision was made to put the card into another machine. I had a fresh RH 8.0 installed on one of my test machines, so we put the card in there.
From there getting the camera to work was just a matter of finding out which software was needed. We ended up with using dvgrab , kino and gscanbus. Other tools are also available but some are not suitable for this kind DV Camera's e.g. Coriander. Coriander is suited for Industry level camera's and other Camera's such as Webcams that don't use compression , such as they are listed on their site.
The rest of this article explains how you can do a similar thing on your machine.
Please note that most of the tools you are going to need are rather new, and therefore require the latest versions of libraries to be installed, possibly even some bleeding edge CVS versions of libraries. For maintenance reasons I use checkinstall to create RPM's or .deb files when I install software from source, this way I can easily uninstall libraries and other self compiled software.
I saved the RPM's on my site, so people who have troubles compiling them, can get them there. (More info in the links)