I have been battling an intractable and maddening problem trying to import DV video to both a Mac Mini Server and a Mac Pro Intel tower for editing with either iMovie or Final Cut Pro. After shooting video for a client and promising him I could ingest and upload it right away, I was horribly embarrassed at not being able to meet my commitment.
I was completely unable to get either program on either computer to connect to any of three DV camcorders or a Sony DSR 50 professional DVCAM tape deck. No matter what I did, including reinstalling programs, going back to previous OS (Snow Leopard, under which the system ran on my G5 Power PC just fine), and everything else I could think of, I could NOT get the system to find the cameras.
I had given up and was about to take the Mac Mini in to the Apple Store for a Genius Bar consult when, as a last resort, I tried browsing the forums again. I came across a post from long ago about whether one could daisy-chain a DV camcorder through a Firewire hard drive to ingest to a computer with only one Firewire 400 port.
Then the light bulb came on!
Last night I had tried to test the system by connecting my LaCie Two Big Disk dual-disk RAID hard drive to the Mac Mini using a Firewire 800 to 400 conversion cable. The disk was not recognized when I connected to the Firewire 400 port on the disk drive, but the drive works fine when I connect it using a Firewire 800 to 800 cable.
So I just hooked my Canon XL-1s up, using my standard Firewire 4-pin mini to Firewire 400 transfer cable that has always worked TO THE FIREWIRE 400 PORT ON THE LaCie hard drive, and then connecting the LaCie hard drive to the computer using a Firewire 800 cable to the Firewire 800 port on the drive.
Miracle of miracles, I'm now ingesting DV video from the Canon XL-1s to iMovie 8 on the Mac Pro tower!
As soon as I finish this ingest, I will try the same trick to the Mac Mini into Final Cut Pro 6.0.6 and see if it works as I expect.
What this means is that there is a problem with the Firewire 800 controller in the Mac computers. For some reason they do not handle I/O in the same way as a Firewire 400 board, but the boards in the LaCie drives that contain both 400 and 800 ports will do the necessary translation.