For those of us with a tight budget, little tech know-how, and even less time, there is still hope for adding multimedia into your communications plans. In not much time at all, you can produce a powerful photo slideshow or video with some fairly simple tools.

Here are three quick and easy tools to incorporate multimedia.

1. iMovie

I’ve recently started toying around with iMovie, and it is extremely easy to use. The iPad version is not as robust as the version on the Mac, but you can throw a project together very quickly. The iPad takes beautiful pictures and video. Remember to stabilize it on something, so it’s not bouncy or buy an iPad mount. You can read more about movie-making on an iPad here.

2. Photoshop Express

Adobe Photoshop Express is an editor and online image manager. You can quickly share photos to Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr and Twitter. If you are short on media, look for royalty-free pictures on Compfight or Flickr Creative Commons.

If you don’t have an iPad or a Mac, there’s always the much-beloved Soundslides that allows you to create drag-and-drop photo slideshows. It’s a bargain at about $70.

3. QR codes

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The ultimate goal is to drive traffic to our websites and social media pages, so I also use QR (quick response) codes to quickly access online vehicles. A QR code is a two-dimensional barcode that can be read by smartphones. The encoded information can be text, a URL, or other data.

Use a QR generator site, fill in the fields, and a QR code pops out as an image. I like to use them on print materials as a way to give readers instant access to supplemental online materials.

For example, if I run an article in the print newsletter, and I want readers to be able to also see a video on my website, I’ll include a QR code at the end of the story. They can scan the QR code with a code reader application and viola — the video instantly appears on their phones.

You can add QR codes to the back of fliers or to your business card and take readers to your Facebook page, LinkedIn group or a questionnaire.

Danielle McNamara is a guest blogger for kdmcBerkeley. After years as a reporter at newspapers such as the Sacramento Bee and the Kansas City Star, Danielle earned a master’s degree in journalism with a print and multimedia concentration from University of California, Berkeley. Danielle is now the Assistant Communications Director for the academic preparation and access program Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA). She leads the social media and communications strategies, photography, website, and alumni work and serves as press liaison and PR/multimedia trainer.


This post is a guest post from kdmcBerkeley, which offers workshops to mid-career journalists to enhance their expertise and multimedia skills. The Center’s goal is to provide the foundation of technical skills and storytelling techniques required by new media platforms. This summer, kdmcBerkeley is hosting for the second year the Multimedia Storytelling Summer Institute 2013.