Will Bueché

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Taking the fun out of Funko

Posted in Personal by Will on Sunday, May 3rd, 2015 ~ 10pm

Seriously, you came all this way to learn more about a dust-up between me and an anonymous guy who ran an unofficial Funko action figure page? Well alright, that’s some serious free time you have – so I will oblige, ’cause I have to respect that sort of interest:

In an aside, on a public forum, I’d alluded to that guy being a “moody dick”. Someone replied,

He [the person that runs the unofficial Funko Legacy page] can be an outright dick, is what you mean. He gets pretty curt with people. Regardless of that, he has revealed some pretty cool stuff, and does a better job of keeping an open line of communication to Funko than Funko does. We wouldn’t know half the stuff without that page. Still, it is only a fan page, so I don’t get why it should be more professionally run. He wants to be a dick he can be a dick I guess. He only stands to lose followers.

And that comment prompted me to tell of my experience. Here’s my telling of my tale:

So it wasn’t just me then! I was going to post this as a post, but I think it is contrary to [this forum’s] rules about talking ^$@* about people. So, just for you:

My experience was that a Kickstarter campaign was posted on the page, promoted as a comedic documentary about action figure collecting. I viewed the promo and noticed no one had donated yet. I commented that maybe a comedic documentary would sell itself better if there was some trace of comedy in the promo. He immediately sacked me, with a message that the comedian filmmaker was a fwend of his, and that dissent would not be tolerated. But the results of the Kickstarter proved my point: The Kickstarter raised $0. Zero. Nothing.

I’d also remained calm when he was worried that Funko was going to attend ComicCon without a booth. I noted that many companies did the same in other industries (personal experience here by the way). He felt that having an informed opinion and not joining in the worry was “acting contrary”.

Which is a long way of saying that some people need others to align exactly with their point of view, especially when they’re wrong.

The page has good interviews with Reis O’Brien [of Funko], though. So it’s a love-hate thing. After TheFwoosh (of course!), I prefer the official Funko forum for most discussion of Funko, but the official forum doesn’t like posting advance information, so, fan sites are useful.

So, dear detective, that’s the dust-up. Sorry if it was disappointingly mundane.

The denouement came about very recently, on the occasion of that guy ending his run on that page and doing it in the style he was known for – calling me out for, well, for calling him out.

(He saw the above comment – which is great, I’d hoped it would be shared, since if he doesn’t hear feedback how will he ever change?)

In a public message that was obliquely written to him, I concluded,

For the record, I don’t mind at all that someone said my wish for Buffy Legacy figures of only the main cast was a stupid idea, or disagreed that Cusack’s character from Say Anything was a poor choice for Funko’s vinyl line sculpted by An Evil Corporation, because I actually enjoy differing options. That’s the way to be – to be part of a steady dialogue of ideas and opinions, and not become upset when someone disagrees with you. There is a beauty in diversity of opinion, and it is what I value.

Being part of a community that is excited about Funko’s developments is a terribly nice diversion, and I just wanted to take a moment to express my appreciation to everyone (here and on FF).

I recently said some unkind words about someone, and I apologize for my unkindness.

And I meant it. I was unkind, and it was my unkindness for which I apologized. Not for my opinion of him.

But, I don’t know him. My opinion of “him” is meaningless, considering that I don’t know him. My opinion was not of him, only of his actions and words, so my criticism should have been leveled solely at his actions and words, rather than him as a person.

Funko’s The Fifth Element ReAction figures look good!

Posted in Personal by Will on Saturday, February 14th, 2015 ~ 9am

Yes! The Funko The Fifth Element ReAction figures look OK! ToyFair trade show is happening now; these figures may not arrive in stores for quite some time, but here they are! For a line designed to look like primitive 1970s action figures these are not so bad! And look, there are little Stones, probably one with each figure!

…Notice who is missing? Yeah, Gary Oldman … wait, nope! He’s here too. You can see Zorg in the upper right corner of this photo:

Cree TW series LED lightbulbs vs Home Depot + UPS

Posted in Personal by Will on Friday, February 13th, 2015 ~ 1pm

HomeDepot wouldn’t be so stupid as to ship a case of lightbulbs in anything less than a styrofoam-encased box, would they?

Oh yes, yes they would be that stupid.

This arrived a few minutes ago via UPS: A hundred dollars worth of Cree’s most sophisticated LED lightbulbs, completely smashed though the plain brown cardboard box it came in shows only the usual wear one would expect from mail.

Click to enlarge

Of the 6 bulbs, 4 are spiderwebs of broken glass. 2 may have survived (assuming their circuitry is stronger than their glass) but I have to return the whole case if I want my hundred dollars back. Home Depot says on the phone they’ll accept the return at any local store (Want to bet the local store will feel otherwise?), and even offered me 10% off if I order it again – as if I was that much of a fool.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Remastered in HD but with many errors!

Posted in Uncategorized by Will on Friday, October 10th, 2014 ~ 10am

Earlier this year, Fox decided to remaster Buffy the Vampire Slayer in high definition.

They’ve been getting excellent quality out of the original film elements. But there have been problems.

Remastering tv shows that had been shot on film but edited on videotape in standard definition is a laborious and expensive process that requires finding the original high-quality film elements, scanning them in high-definition, and then editing the shots together in exactly the same way as they’d been edited years before. The result is the show as it was, except now in high-definition. Sometimes studios will opt to recompose the show in widescreen while they are at it.

This process was perfected a couple years ago by Les Dittert’s company Illuminate; their iConform software pours through countless reels of original camera negatives until it finds every strip of film that is needed to rebuild the show. Illuminate was hired to rebuild The X-Files and 24, and they’ve proven themselves to be exceptionally talented at what they do. And when they are asked to reframe a show into widescreen they make careful decisions about how to reframe each and every shot.

But for Buffy, Fox hired some other company. No one knows who exactly; all that is known is that they have no experience. It might have been outsourced to India.

Regretfully, the team doing Buffy – or some amateur on the team – doesn’t like wide and medium shots, and has been turning them into close-ups.

Naturally, the top and bottom of the image must be shorn in order to make the image widescreen, but the left and right sides are also being cut off for no reason at all!

Here is an example from an episode directed by James Whitmore Jr.:

The shots they’ve turned into close-ups can sometimes be seen as medium or wide shots in the “Previously on Buffy…” segments, so we know that it is purely a fetish on the part of someone on the team to discard the full width of the shots – there is no technical reason why the sides of the image are being discarded!

Some samples: On the left, the original show so you can see how much image exists on the sides – area that should have been used in the remastered version. On the right, the remastered version in which the sides have been needlessly cut off. These are the same moment, or within a split-second:


Other frequent errors include the team not noticing when scenes are meant to appear as if they are occurring at night. This scene in Buffy’s bedroom is set at night, but the remastering team didn’t notice and left the color temp and levels at daylight settings:

And sometimes they’re just making bad decisions about framing. Here, they weren’t paying attention to the action, and as a result all the comedy of the moment is gone. They gave Darla too much headroom, and as a result they cut out her playful lifting of her skirt:

Hundreds more examples of the amateur work are being catalogued on BuffyHD on Facebook. There is no question that Fox needs to start again, with a new remastering team – an experienced team, not the unnamed newbies who have been remastering Buffy.

Fans are hoping that some of the various directors and cinematographers who worked on Buffy will contact Fox and ask to be brought in as consultants.

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