Saturday, 17 May 2008

SoFoBoMo by the numbers

There are other post mortem examinations of SoFoBoMo on-going. Go check out the comments at Paul Butzi and Gordon McGregor has a good post on the aftermath.

For me, I decided to break the thing down into the numbers involved. This is partly the engineer & consultant in me: I like to be able to predict the effort involved in something, analysing what's been done helps predict what's to come. Also, I thought it would be a bit different.

So, for "A place to call Home" here it is:

Frames shot: 188. Much less than I ought to, close to the minimum in fact. However, this project was quite easy to pre-visualise the locations for their fit into the project so I was effectively reject locations as I walked along.
Days of shooting: 5. Far less than it should have been but as much as I could manage around the travel.
Shooting time: about 9 hours.
Processing time:
RAW conversion: about 2h
Final work per image: 20 minutes - 14h total. There were some rejects (not many). This is much less time than I would normally spend but with the volume and limited time I set the workflow to be as mechanistic as possible.
Text writing: 2h. Way more time than I normally spend but in using a few words, I wanted to make sure they were right.
Page layout design: 4h. Excludes the faffing around I did learning new Scribus features. When I decided to add page numbers, suddenly I needed to learn about 3 major things to get it to work.
Book assembly: 6-8h. Sequencing the photos was the easy bit and adding them into Scribus is straightforward. It was all the fiddly bits: colour matching, getting the layers right, organising the fonts & paragraph styles. I need to get more organised for things like that - at the moment I do it all on the fly instead of planning it all out.

Total effort: 35-40h. Not bad really - a full work week to put a book together. Of course, I took to using every spare moment to work on it: I was editing images over breakfast, writing text from my hotel and went out shooting on every spare dry day.

For "Kristiansund" the total effort was more like 15-20h. Minimal effort to make sure I could at least get some product out.

Maybe this break down will help others. Looking at it in this way, it doesn't seem so daunting in hindsight.

In comparison, I thought about the effort I'd need for NaNoWriMo (the novel writing thingumie). I can write draft output at about 500 words/hour, edited at about 250 words/hour. That means a 50,ooo word novel requires 100-200h of effort. The only positive with novel writing is it can be done pretty much anywhere, whereas the photography needs one to be on location and my processing needs me to be at home with my computer.

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