To start, check out whether the digital camcorder is compatible with Linux. The short answer is, if it has an IEEE1394 connector, it probably is
compatible. If you're not sure, go to www.linux1394.org, click on Compatibility and then Camera. If the camcorder is not IEEE1394-enabled, you're out
of luck. Although analog video capturing still is possible and works well for many people, it is beyond the scope of this article.
Once you've established the compatibility, you need an IEEE1394 card on your computer. Most of the cheap and not-so-new cards work with Linux, but
check the IEEE1394 site, looking at the Compatibility page, which has Chipset and Host Adapter tables.