Animation VS Live-Action Video – Which is right for your video project?

by | Nov 18, 2016 | Video Marketing

Animation vs live-action video – both have strengths and weaknesses, here are some tips on how to choose what’s right for your video project.

No matter where you watch them, videos today come in many varieties. That’s one reason videos are so engaging.

When starting a video project, you’ll have a lot of decisions to make including the use of animation vs live-action video.

Even if you already have a set idea for your video, don’t overlook this decision. It’s worth considering how these two mediums can help deliver your messages, build brand awareness and connect with your audience.

Image of a camera for our post on Animation vs. Live-Action Video.

Live-Action Video

Let’s talk about live-action video first. It’s probably the default medium that comes to mind when you think of making a video. That’s because it’s everywhere.

You can pull out your phone right now and start recording live-action video instantly. Millions of people do it everyday using Snapchat and Instagram.

So what makes live-action video a good option?


Live-Action is Personal


Live-action video is real and it captures real emotion.

Putting a person in front of the camera is a great way to capture your viewers’ attention.

As social creatures, our eyes are immediately attracted to the faces of others.

An example of this can be found on YouTube. Effective YouTube video thumbnails almost always feature a face. If your video needs to convey human emotions or establish a personal connection, live-action with people on camera is the way to go.


Live-Action is Classic


We sort of touched on this already, but it’s the truth.

Most of us simply expect to see a live-action video when we watch a video.

That’s not to say animations are out of the ordinary or childish, it’s just that live-action appeals to pretty much any audience.

Live-Action Captures the Physical


Do you sell a physical product? Do you offer services that involve physical movement and interaction?

Then live-action is probably the way to go. Simply put, if you’re showing something tangible, live-action footage will capture it accurately and easily compared to animation.

Think about it, if you’re a restaurant owner, are illustrations of food going to make your audience hungry? No, but a slow motion closeup of a burger being made will.

Animated Video

Let’s move on to animation. We’re not talking about Saturday morning cartoons (although I wish we were).

We’re talking about slick and seamless animations that present anything and everything visually. Animation has somewhat matured in recent years and it’s being used to present information on range of topics for audiences of all ages.

Even a credit card company like American Express uses animation.

So what makes animation so great?


Animation is Flexible


Want a giraffe, elephant and a golden retriever having dinner in front of the Taj Mahal? You can animate that.

Want to represent a diverse population or use a difficult location? When talent and location options are limited, animation isn’t.

Animation allows you the flexibility only Hollywood can afford with live-action.


Animation is Playful


Animation can make you smile, it can take you out of reality and it can do much, much more. Sure live-action video has many styles, but animation has limitless styles.

From realistic to abstract, animation allows you to create something unique, helping your brand stand out from the crowd.


Animation goes Beyond the Physical


There is no doubt that animation is experiencing a boom tied to the growth of modern digital services.

The abstract ideas and cutting edge concepts that make up our increasingly connected world can’t be explained using live-action footage, at least not very easily.

Alternatively, animation can dissect complex ideas and through the use of shapes, colours, textures, and movement guide a viewer down a path of learning.

In addition to explaining the abstract, animation can pull apart complex physical environments where using a camera is simply not possible.


Animation vs Live-Action Video… or Both?

Still not sure where your video project stands in the battle of animation vs live-action video?

Don’t sweat it.

Use these suggestions as guides and remember there are no hard written rules when it comes to choosing the right medium.

Some of the most interesting work today combines live-action and animation! Video as a whole is an evolving medium and the video professionals you hire will help you make the right choices.

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