Digital camera camcorder is a gadget which use to record video movie with some format and some store media to save the recorder. Starting with analog video tape, digital video tape, DVD-RW, memory card, and the latest is using harddisk to store the video record.
If we use the digital storage media such as DVD, memory card, and harddisk, for transfer from camera to computer is so easy, we can directly copy video recorder from storage to computer by using USB or Firewire, but for those media above, especially memory card and harddisk, using USB is already more than enough. Maybe a little different for DVD, because we don't have to copy again to computer, because after finish recording, if we want the DVD can be play from ordinary player, we have to close the session first by choosing from the camcorder menu. If we do not close the session, the DVD cannot play from ordinary player, but still can play at camcorder itself, also non close session DVD can use to continue the recorder until the storage out of space.
Memory card and harddisk camcorder storage media, after copy to computer, we can directly play with computer Media Player like Windows Media Player, but if we want to burn to DVD, we have to have special Video DVD burning such as Nero or something like that.
How About if we use video tape for camcorder storage media. Using video tape already happen long time ago since the video camcorder produced and introduced to market. If I'm not wrong, Sony Corp is the first company which produce camcorder with video tape storage media. At that time, we can play directly the tape at video tape player to show the movie, until VCD is popular, then the video tape transfer to computer by using video card capture.
When Digital Video Tape produced, the way to transfer have other option by using USB or Firewire (IEEE 1394), at that time no computer have firewire port by default, we have to add additional firewire card. But now, almost every mid or high end computer/notebook already have default firewire port. This is make the way to transfer from digital video tape become more easy.
What is the different using USB vs Firewire to transfer?
The differences between use USB vs Firewire is the bandwidth, by spec USB 2 bandwidth is about 12-420Mbps, but most of the USB2 at camcorder can only transfer about less than 50Mbps. But Firewire (IEEE 1394) can be transfer at 400Mbps bandwidth. Firewire is very good protocol to use for transfer audio-video data. That's why if we compare between USB2 cs Firewire, Firewire will give better performance.
We can use several way to transfer from Camcorder using firewire (IEEE 1394) interface, one of my favorite software is WinDV (http://windv.mourek.cz/). WinDv is free software. Using WinDV is very easy and the file size is small and not need a lot of resources to transfer the audio-video. File will be save as AVI file.