I thought I'd outline what all I do in order to post the caps I share with everyone and how long it all takes.
Since I'm posting caps to all 7 Seasons of SPN concurrently I found myself getting confused over what I needed to do next with each one. So I made up a chart to keep track of it all.
Across the top are the episode numbers (with their cap counts right above) with the various stages of capping on the column to the left. This way when I finish a stage I can mark it off and know where I am with each episode.
As you can see I haven't done anything with 7x07 and I still need to Divide/Zip & Upload Zips on 6x12 before I can post them. Meanwhile 6x11 is all ready to go. :)
Here's a rundown of my stages of capping & how long they each take:
:: Capping -- This can take anywhere from 3-4 hours on average for one episode.
It depends on if I'm watching TV while I'm capping and how many breaks I take. This is by far the most time-consuming part of the whole process.
:: Sort/Delete -- This can take up to 1-2 hours depending on how high the initial cap count is.
Often times I have over 1,000 caps to sort through and try to whittle down. I delete the bad or unnecessary caps.
:: Fix Caps -- This usually doesn't take too long, perhaps from 30 min. to an hour.
Sometimes I have trouble finding the right settings in PhotoScape and have to fix the batch several times.
:: Divide/Zip Caps -- This doesn't take long at all. Maybe 10 min. tops.
I divide the caps into folders and then convert them to zipped folders for uploading.
:: Upload Zips -- Next I upload the zipped folders to either SendSpace (Season 6) or MediaFire. Depending on my internet speed and how many caps there are this can take anywhere from 2-3 hours.
:: Pull Samples -- Since I'm now trying to keep my sample caps down to only 10 this part has gotten a little easier. I try to only pull one cap from each of the main scenes. This probably takes from 15-30 min.
:: Make Cap Card -- This is the image at the top of my posts with the episode title, etc. This usually doesn't take me very long to make at all...maybe 5 minutes.
:: Upload Samples/Cap Card -- This is where I upload the sample caps & cap card to Photobucket. It also doesn't take very long (unless PB is being difficult). I'd say 5 minutes. However, I found I can't upload to PB while I'm uploading the zips to SendSpace or MediaFire. PB tends to balk when it's competing with other sites, so I wait.
:: Post to LJ -- By the time everything else has been done, this is an easier step. Takes me a little while to cross post to comms, but this part probably takes around 30 minutes.
Doing the math, I'd say from start to finish the whole capping to posting process takes me around 10 hours per episode.
Keep in mind that this doesn't all happen in one day. It usually takes me 3 days or more to complete all these stages.
Just 'Cause Comparison
When I post my Just 'Cause caps each one goes through a secondary fixing. Because I fix the initial caps in batches I have to settle for settings that on average will improve them all. This usually means that individual caps are not always given their best look. So when I choose a cap for the Just 'Cause post, I give it some extra tweaking to get it looking as good as I can.
Here's comparison of a recently posted Just 'Cause cap.
The top cap is the original-fixed-in-a-batch cap and the bottom one is my final tweaking of it. Quite a difference isn't there?
The look of the initial fixed cap depends on what type of file I get for the download of the episode. Clearly the BluRay files are going to look the best, with very little adjustments needed in PhotoScape. However the HQ downloads I got from Seasons 5 & 6 often have this color cast to them, as you can see with the example above. The logo-free downloads I've been getting of Season 7 don't have this problem.
So now you all have some idea of what it takes for me to cap each Supernatural episode.
I know a lot of people use their media players to automatically make their caps, but I dislike the sorting process so much that I don't want several thousand of caps to wade through. My capping by hand may be time-consuming, but it also yields, in my opinion, the best looking caps. I will often go back over a few seconds of video over 10 times just to get THE best cap that is the most in focus. Other times I practically go frame-by-frame to get the one cap I want. Occasionally I over-cap (as I call it) and I end up with more caps than I should have ('cause darn those boys are handsome!), but I sort and delete and get the cap count down to something more manageable and it's all good. :D