How do I use a hard disc drive camcorder for stop motion animation & which software is best to use for Vista?

My 9 year old son is keen to do stop motion animation and has a Sony DCR-SR35E hard disc drive/memory stick Camcorder with X40 optical zoom. We have tried downloading some stop motion animation software but it doesn't seem to link up with the camcorder via the USB. I know that webcams are the easiest way to start animation but surely there must be some way of being able to use our camcorder? We have a Vistas PC.

I read somewhere about capture cards - do we need one and if so which one will work. I presume this can be an external one as opposed to the cost of one installed in the PC? Or are there any other options.

Also what animation programmes would you recommend for me as I am only 9. Any help, pointers or contacts who migt know would be much appreciated.

Many thanks