I have a FireWire camcorder, a Vista machine with FireWire; and Mac OS X 10.6 machine sans FireWire with Final Cut Express video editing software. This technique takes about 10 hours of processing and transfer time for each hour of footage
Here's how I go about transferring my movies for editing:
(1) Download wmv2avi.exe http://www.freewarezoom.com/archives/free-wmv-to-avi-mpeg-converter to vista
(2) Make sure you have about 20Gb of space on your mac for each hour you will be editing; and about 5Gb on your Vista machine.
(3) Activate sharing between your Vista and Mac as described here: http://mediatribe.net/en/node/32 takes about 30 minutes
(4) Use Windows Media Movie Maker to import your movie to Vista. importing is in real time
(5) Use wmv2avi.exe to batch convert all the .wmv files to mpg level 1 files (don't use mpg level 2 or avi) takes about 4 hours for each hour of footage
(6) Transfer all the converted files to your mac takes about 30 minutes for each hour of footage
(7) Download MPEG Streamclip from http://www.squared5.com/svideo/mpeg-streamclip-mac.html to your mac
(8) Use MPEG Streamclip to batch export your mpg files to quicktime with the options DV-NTSC to avoid rendering times (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XEjAOFsDVQ). This will generate .mov files. takes about 4 hours for each hour of footage
(9) Import all the .mov files to your Final Cut Express project.