I have always considered the process of capturing from tape as well as laying back to tape part of the editing process, so I have charged my regular editing rates for these processes as well as the actual time spent editing. The same goes for DVD encoding & authoring. This seems to me to be perfectly appropriate for the usual short-length projects, and nobody objects. However, I am now working on a seminar series with a total length of about 50 hours, recorded on 2-hour DVCAM tapes. So, if we need to do only a couple of edits in one of these 2-hour segments, it involves 2 hours of capturing and up to 1.5 hours of encoding or 2 hours laying back to tape, while the actual editing is like 5-10 minutes. I want to be fair to my client, but the time spent capturing is time I cannot spend on another project. Do the rest of you charge varying rates for these processes?
Well, some people hire assistants for less money, so they can charge less for this. Typically I charge the same for capture and output as when I capture, that is when I view the footage to see what I have...part of the editing process. Output, well, you have to monitor your output with a critical eye to make sure things are smooth and there are no hiccups...so I charge the same for both.
In your case, if you filmed this seminar, you know what you have. SO capturing the footage can be done while you do something else...like paying the bills or something. So you can charge like half rate. But edit and output should be full amount.
For hourly (non bid) jobs, I don't charge the same rate to log, capture, or compress, etc as I do for editing. Even though it's using the gear, I can be doing something else for many of these tasks. Back in the day using the sliding scale was the norm at most production houses. No one would think of charging a client an edit rate for dubs, or Chyron compose, unless it happened during a session because of some last minute thing. But otherwise most non-editing jobs were done off hours, at a lesser rate.
If you decide to use a sliding scale, you should consider using a time-tracker program like Timeslice, or the time-tracker in Quickbooks, to keep an reference as to where the time was spent on the job, instead of relying on memory. Timeslice also allows you to do fixed cost jobs and see if you are over/under budget.