Animation vs. Live Action: Which Is Better for Your Promo Video

We get this question a lot: “What would be best for our next video, animation (or graphics-based) video or live action?” The answer isn’t always clear-cut.

1) Who Is the Target Audience?

If your intended audience is children, animation can be a great choice. But for adults, whether or not to go with animation depends largely on the topic and the tone of your campaign.

While it’s easy to dismiss animation for more serious topics, this genre can definitely be a fresh way to reach your clients. Check out this simple animated video that brings home the meaning of consent in a novel and clear way.

For product videos, Fridababy uses animation to show their products that are just too messy and unpalatable for live-action viewing. Witness the adorable animated style of The Snotsucker in action:

2) How Much Time Do you have?

If you need the video a week from Thursday, animation probably isn’t the way to go. Creating a live-action video generally is quicker than an animated one. True, both kinds of productions start with a script. But then they diverge.

In animation, you’ll also need to design and create characters, then go through storyboarding the story before starting the time-heavy process of animating them.

In live-action, once you have the script finalized and the actors and locations settled, filming can generally begin immediately. And as long as there is no compositing or CGI, the editing process goes fairly quickly. So if you’re short on time, live-action is likely your best bet.

3) Is Your Product or Service Concrete or Abstract?

Animation is at its best describing abstract notions. If your company delivers very complicated products or services that are difficult to explain, animation is often the way to go.

Tech services, apps, web companies, cloud-based business models or complicated governance scenarios- animation can make a baffling concept fathomable for your audience. We created this animated video for Automobility to promote their mobile app “MyCar” and show its features:

 4) Do You Run a Person-Based Business or Service?

If the selling point is the people who work at your organization, put those faces on camera. If your coaches, instructors or staff are a key selling point, you want to let your clientele meet and connect with them. Likewise, if you have an amazingly cool or homey workplace, showroom or dining establishment, live action is a way to show it proudly.

5) Do You Need to Demonstrate Products?

Product demos and instructional videos generally work best with live-action, although even here sometimes additional animation or motion graphics can help delve inside something and show how it works. We were able to show how a whole suite of products worked to help boost sales, including this power bank, with a simple live-action style for Spector & Co..

6) What’s Your Budget?

This is one of those ‘it depends’ kind of questions. In live-action, the complexity and length of your video will greatly affect the costs. Add-ons that take more equipment and man-power (i.e.: studio rental, on-camera presenters, off-camera voice talent, special equipment like drones) add on to the price tag.

In animation, length is probably the biggest factor- it just takes more time (and hence more money) to animate a longer piece. But the style of animation you chose can also greatly affect your budget. Your production company can walk you through the various price points, but there is almost certainly room for either genre – or maybe a combination of both – in your budget.

If you’re still not sure which path to take, contact us. We’ll help take you through the options and find the best one for your project!

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