Agreed. Start up the camera and put it into VTR mode (make sure that the Firewire cable is connected at both ends)...then fire up your video editing app.
I have an oddball Japanese-market-only Panasonic 3CCD MiniDV camera and iMovie3, Final Cut Pro 4 and Final Cut Express all recognised it.
You may have to go to the preferences menu and select "standard Firewire device" or something.
But try starting the camera before you start the app. It usually works for me.