Sprout Builder: Drag-and-drop WYSIWYG Flash Widget Builder

[ YouTube Link ]

I recently finished some work for a new startup here in San Francisco called, Sprout. I built this movie for them (above).

Their product is called Sprout Builder. It’s an easy to use drag-and-drop, WYSIWYG Flash interface for building live, interactive multimedia content that can easily be added to any web page. Basically, they’re widgets… or as they call them, Sprouts. They introduced the Sprout Builder at the DEMO conference on January 29th.

I have to admit, when they first approached me to make the movie, I thought to myself… another widget maker, big woop. But, when I started to play around with the Sprout Builder I realized that they’ve actually made a pretty cool tool, with a lot of power, that is easy for just about anyone to use. It’s way ahead of anything else out there right now.

With Sprout Builder you can build relatively simple things like rss feed readers or countdown Sprouts (widgets), but you can also build very complex multi-page, interactive micro-sites, using just the pre-built components that they give you. The Sprout Builder has its own drawing and text tools, but you can also upload (or link to) your own images, video, audio, etc… The Sprout Builder has an intuitive interface, that will be familiar to anyone who has used tools like Photoshop, or Powerpoint.

Unfortunately, the Sprout Builder is currently in Closed Beta, so not everyone can get their hands on it just yet. But, you can sign up on the site to be notified when it’s opened up to everyone. If you have a website, it’s worth checking out.

Check out these reviews to see what others are saying about Sprout…


Oh, and as long as I’m talking about this, I might as well through out some shameless self-promotion. After all, from what I hear the movie has been pretty well received. If you’re interested in having me produce some marketing material for you, feel free to contact me through my online portfolio site.

I’m Back!

Wow, looking at the previous post, I see I’ve been on this break for almost a month. I don’t think I’ve gone that long without blogging since I started this site. It’s been so long that I actually had to remind myself about the steps I take to post (image size, using Marsedit, etc…).

It’s been a good break, and I needed it, but now I’m itching to start blogging again. Oh, and if you sent me any emails while I was away, I’ll try to get to those soon as well. Sorry for the delay.

My original intention was to disconnect myself as much as possible from my computer, but I actually did spend some time redesigning my portfolio site. Primarily because I wanted to switch my motion graphics examples over to Flash video, and add some recent work, but I also just couldn’t stand to look at that site any longer. I originally threw the (old) site together in an evening, over 3 years ago. I needed something up in a hurry, but I’ve been meaning to change it ever since. The new site went semi-live last night. I say semi-live because I’m actually still tweaking it. I was hoping to get it up by the 1st, but I just couldn’t get it done.

Anyway, I hope everyone had a good holiday and new years. Like me, I’m sure you’re now plenty excited about Macworld. I’ll be talking about that in my next post.



I recently finished a fun little project, for a product called Philm. The project was a video loop that plays on a point-of-sale (POS) kiosk. It’s meant to give a quick overview of the product. I worked on it with 8Speed Multimedia, and TransitStudio. The guys at 8Speed and Transit did most of the Storyboarding, and I did most of the After Effects (animation) work. All things considered, I think it came out pretty well. The people at Philm must agree, because I noticed they are using it on their site as well.

Watch Movie – 3.6MB QuickTime (requires QuickTime 7)
note: the movie has no audio… you’re not going deaf.

I bought an iBook :)


For about 6 months I’ve been considering buying a new laptop. I do most of my production work on a G5 tower, but I don’t really have a good mobile solution. I do have a laptop… it’s the original G4 Titanium Powerbook. It’s painfully slow to work on because it’s a mere 500MHz, with a dinky 8MB video card, and 20GB hard drive. It originally shipped with OS9 on it. Installing Tiger, and my apps took up most of the hard drive. It works, but I hated working on it.

A while back I decided I wanted an iBook, instead of another Powerbook, because I wanted the durability. Powerbooks are a bit delicate.

Lately, there has been rumors flying around that Apple may introduce the new Intel-based iBooks as early as January. I don’t know if this is going to happen or not, but it worried me a little. I don’t want one of the first Intel iBooks. I’m usually an early adopter, but this is a significant change in architecture. There are bound to be some hiccups with the first models to come off the line. I was also a little concerned about applications. They all need to be recompiled for Intel processors. Power PC apps will run in the Intel machines, but they’ll be under Rosetta (emulation). Running processor intensive apps under Rosetta is going to be a little slow, especially on lower-end machines. I don’t want to have to worry about that, and I don’t want to buy all new apps.

Last Friday, Apple had a Black Friday (1 day only) sale. They were offering $101 off iBooks, plus free shipping. I debated on buying it all day. Finally at 11:56pm I decided to go for it. I jumped online and bought the 12″ model (I wanted small) with 100GB HD and 1GB of RAM.

My online order technically registered with the Apple server at 12:04am (Saturday). Although my web receipt showed the discount, the email confirmation did not… because the sale had been over for 4 minutes. Luckily, I called Apple the next day and told them what happened, and they put the discount back in. :)

My order confirmation said the iBook would ship on December 2nd, but I got a happy surprise email from Apple saying it had shipped early, on the 29th. Surprisingly, it’s coming from China. I had no idea they were made in China.

Now I’m just waiting for it to arrive (I can’t wait), and hoping that Apple doesn’t introduce cool new, non-Intel, iBooks in January. That would suck!

Video Attract-Loop

Southwest Microwave: Video Attract loop

I’ve been a little slow to post these last few days, because I’ve been swamped with work. It’s finally settled down a bit, and I can take a little breather.

The project that consumed most of my time since late last week, was a video I was doing for Southwest Microwave. It’s your basic, corporate video attract-loop that is playing on a 50″ plasma display in their booth at a trade show they are attending this week in Florida. It was kind of last minute, so I only had about three days to through it together. All things considered I think it came out fairly well. of course, I would have loved to have had a little more time to work on it.

The ‘video’ is made entirely of animated stills. It was built in Adobe After Effects. The overall look was designed to compliment their printed material.

Watch the movie – 14MB QuickTime

MSN Music Road Tour

MSN Music Road Tour

I’m in the process of doing some video editing for the MSN Music Road Tour. The idea of the tour is to put six people on a bus, set them up with blogs and video cameras, and send them to various music festivals to interview the bands. A colleague of mine here in San Francisco was working on the project and he needed some help with the video end of things. It’s kind of cool adding a big name to my client list, but the project itself is nothing too special. They didn’t want to spend a lot on this portion of the project, so it’s really rough-cut video. I was basically just cutting out the junk. The only cool thing I got to do was add a little intro animation. It was designed to go with the existing style of the site. I’ve completed six of the movies, they’ll probably be 20-25 when we’re done.

the Little Penguin

the Little Penguin

A while back I (paul burd design) did a series of videos for the 2005 Southcorp Wines Annual Sales Meeting. It was a great project. I was really happy with the work.

Last week I had the opportunity to do another movie for the Little Penguin, one of Southcorp’s brands. Before it started I was really excited about doing it. Unfortunately it turned into one of those projects that just don’t go right from the beginning. I won’t go into details, but needless to say my excitement quickly turned into a need to just get the thing done, and off my plate. Don’t you hate when projects go that way?

Anyway, it’s done now. And despite the hang-ups, I think it came out OK, not great, but OK. What do you think?

[ Watch the movie ] – 5.7MB QuickTime

Depths of the Earth

Depths of the Earth

I just finished a new logo and website for Depths of the Earth. It just went live tonight. Their old site was in pretty rough shape, and they wanted to update thier look. The site design was wide open, but they had one important requirement for the logo. It had to maintain the overall identity established by the old logo. They basically wanted the same logo, but a more modern feel. Click here to view screen-shots of their OLD logo and site.

This has actually been a really fun project to work on. The owner of the compnay has been great to work with. She wanted material that was clean and simple, and was very open to my suggestions. She originally contacted me about doing a t-shirt design, but through that conversation it turned into a logo, website, business card, stationary, product sticker, printed promotional piece, and finally a t-shirt. I wish every project could go this well.