Animation Vs. Live Action: Which is Better for Your Business Video

Our clients always ask — “Which style is better for business video; animation or live action?” With this post, we’re going to take a look at this in depth from every angle.

Contents

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The Myth of Pros and Cons

Sometimes, when we are discussing styles with our clients, they want to know the pros and cons of the styles or production methods. “What are the pros of animation?” “What are the cons of live action?” “Which is better?” And so on. The truth is, all styles are good, and all production methods are good. What you really need to know is when to use each one to promote your company and deliver your message to the audience you’re targeting.

Animation or Live Action?

Here’s another misconception. You don’t have to pick one or the other. The thing is, animation doesn’t need to exclude live action and vice versa. You can use motion graphics animation in a live action video, or screencast in an animated video, or all of those styles together. Design is a form of communication. Can you pick one way of communicating and apply that to all situations?

No way!

Before any communication begins, you should know who you are addressing, what the context is, what culture you’re interacting with, etc. So, there aren’t pros and cons of talking loud or low, or with a smile or with anger. It all depends on what the message is you’re trying to deliver. If you’re going to tell people the building is on fire, you should be shouting that as loud as possible with a serious face or people won’t hear or believe you.

 Live action with animation

Which Style is Better for My Business?

This is something we recommend consulting a professional about. Every company is unique, and so is every message. You can read recommendations in either direction, but whoever wrote it doesn’t know your business. There isn’t a universal rule — it’s more like a tree and every time there’s an offshoot of a branch there are three more options to choose from until you get to the end. Contact us if you need a free consultation. We’ll help you select the right style!

In a very general answer, if what you need is to showcase how your actual product works in real life, then you should go with live action. But let’s say you need to showcase the technology or mechanisms of the product; for that you’ll need animation. This also makes a good case for using both in the same video. There are also a lot of tricks that animation studios can use to get a better effect while also saving your budget.

 

Planning Your Budget

People think that animated explainer videos are cheaper than live action videos. Yes and no. You can create a great live action video for 15k and an animated video for 100k! It all depends on what your story is, and how you create it. If you need an explainer video that tells about your online startup, we recommend you spend around $3500 – $5000. This is enough to ensure a high-quality production from a solid company.

Planning the budget for a live action business or explainer video is harder. If it’s just a single person in front of a camera doing a product demo, that’s not too difficult. Any more than that, though, and you’re going to need:

  • Actors
  • Crew (camera, sound, lighting, director, and more)
  • Hair and makeup stylists
  • Sets
  • Props
  • Locations (and permits for locations)
  • Catering

what i need for live action video

In different locations in different countries or complex scenes, costs can soar. If you hire an agency, be prepared to plan your budget at a minimum of 50k. Even if you create a video at home, you will still need to make an investment to make sure it doesn’t look bad with poor lighting, cheap backgrounds, bad sound, etc. That could cost thousands if you do it yourself. You also need to make sure your script is great. Many people think they can write a good script about their own business, but it’s quite rare that we get scripts that are already written and don’t need additional editing.

What if I need Live Action Video and My Budget is Tight?

This isn’t as big a problem as you think. Remember when I mentioned there are tricks? Here are two:  

Stock footage videos.

This is a great solution when you have a limited budget but want to use real footage. There are a lot of high-quality live action clips for all sorts of scenarios. In the hands of skilled professionals, they can be combined to create a powerful story about your company, brand, or even product. Then you can use animations to customize everything.  

Animated video.

Yes, you read that right. Animated video can replace live action (although it doesn’t work in reverse). Of course, there can be some limitations, but you can always change the message and talk about the problems your product can solve from other points of view — for example, how it will make your customer’s life easier or happier. Remember, every product is ultimately created for people, and you can always share the benefits they will get.

FAQ

What if Life Action and Animation Both Work Great for My Marketing Video?

What are the goals of your video? If you’re creating an explainer video, you would be better off choosing animated videos. Even big companies like Google do that. Why spend more money if you don’t have to? Additionally, you can test different ideas and messages with animation.

 

Which Is Faster To Produce, Live Action Or Animation?

Live action can sometimes be faster to produce. But, it’s harder to create a concept because you need to find a really strong hook for the first 10 seconds to get people to watch the entire video. Though if you’re just talking about a simple product demonstration, you could create that in just 2 -3 days.

Which Style Is Easier To Make Revisions With?

Animation, by far. If you’re shooting live action, you work with what you’ve recorded. If you need any new material, you have to go through the entire production process all over again with cast, crew, locations, etc. Animation is incredibly flexible and revisions are much easier to do.

I Want To Show My Product; Which Is Better, Animation Or Live Action?

If the product needs to be held in hand to demonstrate it (or show how strong it is by throwing it against the wall!), live action is your choice. However, if you need to showcase your product inside and out in ways that you can’t do with live action (like going inside it or showing the different parts at work), then you need animation.

Which Style Is Good For Explaining Abstract Or Complicated Ideas?

This is where animation wins, hands down. You can exhibit global-level or microscopic ideas, show things like bluetooth or the internet, present people from different continents or times in history — anything you want with no limits to your imagination. This is why this is our favorite solution for tech, startups, online services, etc.

Which Is More Expensive, Live Action Or Animation?

It all depends on the animation style and how complex your shooting plans are (how big your cast and crew are, number of locations, special effects, etc.)

What Is The Difference Between VFX And Animation?

VFX means visual effects. They are more about generating, for example, tornados, aliens, flying saucers, ocean waves, that kind of thing. When we talk about animation, we mean elements that support video like app animations, highlighting items, making infographics pop out, and logo animations.

What Is The Best Way To Combine Animation And Live Action?

 There is no best way to display information. As for flexibility or ease of accessibility, the best style is motion graphics.

How Do You Make 2D Animation Over Live Video?

If you already have video footage, you send the RAW files to an animation studio and let them know what you want to be done. NOTE: If you only have the final rendered file with text or graphics already built in, they will not be able to make changes. RAW files are needed to make changes.

Conclusion – Which is Better, Animated or Live Action?

We don’t have a winner because we believe there isn’t a competition! All styles are great — you just need to know the right time and place to use them!

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Aram Movsisyan

Video Marketing Expert.

    Aram Movsisyan

    Video Marketing Expert.