8 Ways to save money on your next multimedia project

You don’t have to have stacks of money or an enormous budget to create amazing multimedia stories. Check out some of the tips below for making recession-friendly projects.

1. Create a homemade studio

Instead of paying money for a professional soundbooth, create a similar effect by hanging blankets in the walls of a closet or small room (preferably one with electrical outlets). The blankets work in the same way padded walls do, creating a richer sound
for your recordings and lessening the reverb or echo in the room.

2. Find Creative Commons-licensed photos

Thanks to Creative Commons, many photographers have made their work freely available for public use, requiring only attribution or minor restrictions. This means instead of shooting all your photos yourself, you can tap the existing work of talented photographers to include in your photo projects or slideshows.

3. Use your iPhone

Considering the iPhone’s not so budget-friendly price tag, this tip assumes you already have one. Besides the built-in video camera in the 3GS (which at least one journalist has used to record and report stories), there are a wide range of iPhone apps that can be used for multimedia production. These include TimeLapse which, as its name suggests, creates time-lapse photography, Pano which creates panoramic photographs, and FourTrack, an audio mixer for the iPhone. More helpful apps for producers and reporters can be found at this previous post.

4. Find free music

There’s no reason to pay big money for backing tracks when there is lots of free music to be found on the web. Sites like Incompetech, Partners in Rhyme and MusOpen have free music available to download and incorporate into your projects.

5. Take advantage of free trials

Many software distributors make free trials of their software available to potential buyers and can come in handy when you really need the software for your project. Adobe, for example, offers 30-day trial versions for many of its popular offerings, including Flash, Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver and InDesign.

6. Use free software

Why pay for expensive software when free software can do the trick? Take advantage of free programs like Audacity and GarageBand for audio editing, iMovie and Windows Live Movie Maker for video editing. Can’t find a free alternative to your favorite software? Check out CNET’s Download.com which makes finding free, peer-reviewed programs incredibly easy.

7. Use online alternatives

Some popular programs like Photoshop have free online clones that let users access some of the same features without paying the hefty cost of software. Also check out these free online video editing tools and these alternatives to Soundslides.

8. Beg and borrow

If you have colleagues or friends who have the equipment you need but can’t afford, ask them if you can borrow it for a couple of hours. Assure them that you’ll return it in peak condition and, of course, try not to trash it.

Got more money saving tips? Share them in the comments!

Also on 10,000 Words:

21 Free online photo editing tools
How to edit your video online for free or cheap
How to create, edit and embed audio for free
Where to find free sound effects and royalty-free music
Essential multimedia tutorials and resources for do-it-yourself training