Whether you’re planning marketing videos for your social and digital channels or you’re interested in creating TV ads, one of the main initial decisions you have to make is whether you want to use live-action or animated content.
Below, we talk about each and how they compare to one another, specifically as it relates to marketing.
#1 Think About Your Business
While we can cover some of the general pros and cons of live-action versus animated videos and when one might be more appropriate than another, at the core of all of this is your business and your goals.
You can read recommendations and learn about each option to make a decision, but no one knows your business as you do. You want to think about your brand and your targeted customers. What are they going to feel resonates the most? What type of messaging will be most compelling for them?
In general, animation is when objects and sketches are used and showcased in a series of frames to create the illusion the images are moving. Animated videos are often used as explainers, which help inform and educate the viewer. Live-action videos are recording of moving or potentially still objects. Live-action videos can include videography or cinematography if it does not use animations.
#2 Your Budget
It’s almost always going to be cheaper to do an animated video compared to a live-action video, but still, there are exceptions to everything. If you want a high-quality explainer video it’s animated, for example, it can cost several thousands of dollars.
If you’re doing a live-action video, it’s a lot harder to plan ahead on budgeting. If you have one person who’s in front of the camera delivering a product demo, then that might actually be cheaper than an animated video. On the other hand, if you’re going beyond that in terms of complexity, you might have to factor not only video production into your budget but hiring actors, creating sets, getting locations, and catering, just to name a few expenses. With animations, you don’t have to worry about these expenses.
Even if you were going to attempt to make a video for your marketing or advertising pretty much on your own, you’d have to invest money to make sure you have backgrounds that look professional, good lighting, and good sound equipment.
#3 How Important Is Location?
If you need to show a location or if it could make your marketing or advertising more impactful, you might opt for live action over animation. For example, you might be focusing on something like a venue, or you could want to show the architectural details of something. In these cases, you’re going to need live-action because you want to capture the ambiance. You might also want to showcase a certain lifestyle, which can make location important.
If location isn’t relevant, or you want to bring your viewer somewhere across the world, but you’re on a budget, animation can help you achieve that.
#4 How Much Human Connection Do You Want?
Animations can be fun and attention-grabbing, but they’re not as personal as a live-action video.
If you really want to build a personal connection, such as showing the behind-the-scenes work at your business, or you want to create a face for your company, then live-action can be better.
While you can convey emotions in animation, sometimes it’s easier to do this and get your point across effectively with live action in comparison.
#5 The Process
If you’re interested in the process and what that could look like for your timeline typically in animation, it includes:
- Developing a creative concept
- Writing a script
- Creating the animation
- Sound editing and effects
If you’re working with a high-quality video production company, they’ll be able to provide you with input throughout the process.
The live-action process can be more time-consuming but does share some overlaps with the animation process. Live action includes:
- Creative planning
- Post-production: editing, including the visual effects, music, sound effects, and voiceovers if necessary.
#6 Animation Pros and Cons
Some of the other upsides of animation, aside from what’s already discussed,include that it can bring topics to life in a fun, interesting, and vibrant way. It’s also a good way to deliver information so that it’s digestible, informative, and engaging. You can break down your message in a way that’s going to resonate more easily with your audience than you could potentially do with live-action.
Another upside of animation is that if you need to make changes or update, it’s pretty easy to do over time, which isn’t the case with live action.
You can even make very small changes and do two versions of animation so you can split-test them.
The biggest con of animation is one that was named above—it might not feel personal to some audiences.
The animation, in some circumstances, can also end up taking longer than live-action to finish from beginning to end, depending on how complex it is, how long you want your video to be, and your goals. For example, if your live-action video would be you filming yourself at your desk for 10 minutes, this would be a lot less time-consuming than a complex 3D animation that shows a product being used in a variety of ways.
#7 Live Action Pros and Cons
Finally, with live-action, you’re getting an inherent sense of authenticity, and there’s a humanizing element to it. You’re putting a face on the screen, and that’s naturally going to portray and evoke emotions.
Lie-action can, again, depending on the circumstances, be faster to create. You may have more accessibility to make live-action videos too. For example, you can film it entirely on your phone and edit it using simple software.
The cons include the fact that the costs can be high if you don’t go with the simple mobile phone option. You also have limited ability to make edits after your video is completed. You’d have to set up filming days all over again if you wanted to make changes.