SIFF 2021 offers valuable tips on stop motion animation, food photography and social media to young creatives

Hands-on workshops at the Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Youth offer a tonne of fun and learning to aspiring media professionals worldwide

It was an exciting evening for young animators at the Sharjah International Film Festival (SIFF 2021), as visual artist animator and art director, Sahar Abdalla, taught them how to spring lifeless materials into action at a workshop titled ‘Stop Motion Animation’.

The friendly workshop host taught children the basics on the Stop Motion Animation application ideal for young students. “Animation is a lot of fun with materials like felt and plasticine”, said Sahar to the young learners asking them, “What would you like to animate?” Children set the stage by picking their favourite elements from nature – worms, the sun, flowers. The key tips that emerged from the workshop were:

  • The application’s ‘onion skin’ mode is key to turning still images into moving images. Multiple shots of the object can be clicked on this mode just by changing its position, which when all put together, frame-by-frame puts the object in motion.
  • A stop motion animation’s quality is enhanced by adding sound effects. At the workshop for instance, children added chewing sounds for the plasticine worm they created by squeezing plastic and added the sound of its movement by dragging a roll of tape or a plastic box on cardboard surface.
  • The speed of the stop motion animation can be adjusted according to the needs of the scene by choosing particular functions on the application.

Getting the best out of your food shots

With the increasing popularity of the genre, a workshop titled ‘Food Photography’ that was presented by trainer Fatima Omar on the SIFF Kids Studio platform, drew a huge crowd of participants. Omar took them through the paces of capturing incredible images of food with their smartphones.

The trick, she said, we to stick to three angles – tilting the phone forward 45 degrees towards the table; keeping the phone camera at 90 degrees to the surface of the table; and taking the shot from above the table at 0 degrees.

Fatma Omar taught the participants how to create backdrops for shooting food and drinks and combine them with accessories to create beautiful pictures. She suggested giving food shots a touch of credibility by leaving the table a little messy, for instance a cake on a plate with crumbs around it. A lot of thought should go into planning the elements to be included in the frame. It should not be too tacky, and the elements used should complement the subject.

How to present your best self on social media

Themed ‘Manage Your Social Media’, the workshop conducted by trainer Fatima Al Harthi discussed the best ways to present content on social media accounts. She recommended using the ‘SCRL’ application, an innovative software technology to help Instagrammers build a striking layout to ensure their profile and posts attracted instant clicks.

A detailed tutorial on how to select a photo from the photo gallery or from the app’s stock photo library, and extract maximum mileage out of it by using it across several posts followed. This could be achieved by uploading a photo on Instagram via three posts next to each other – the first post on the right side of the page, the second in the middle and the third on the left.

Al Harthi also shared another way to get more traction, by uploading the photo as three separate pictures in slide format, with each slide appearing one after the other.

SIFF 2021 runs until Friday, October 15, and has lined up more than 34 workshops across its two studios, which can be attended for free by simply registering on this link: https://siff.ae/.

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