Animation vs Live Action – Which Decision is Best for your Video Marketing Strategy?

There are plenty of factors to consider when you are planning out a promotional video. One of the first decisions you may be struggling with is whether or not you should go the route of live action or animation.

If you are considering creating a video to promote your business or service, first of all – that’s awesome! And secondly, here are some items to consider if you are unsure if you should go the animation or live action route.

The Cost

Cost can be a bottom line for many clients. In my experience, when you are dealing with quality professionals, both live action and animation fall into the same cost range.  Live action costs will focus around script, equipment, directing, talent, voice-over,editing, music, sound and any additional motion graphics. Animation costs will focus on script, storyboard, illustration, animation, voice-over, music and sound effects.

The Look

When planning your video project, the script is by far the most important part of the process. It is after all, your message and call to action, so you need to decide how you want your business to be perceived.

If your business offering is better explained through human gesture or subtle expression, then Live action is a good choice. It offers a human element animation cannot recreate, and works best if your product requires demonstration in order to be understood.

Animation offers unique style to increase your likeability factor. Animated characters and graphics often inject new personality into your brand and if there is a bit of humor involved, it will relax the viewer. Animation can take a simple, straightforward explanation and turn it into something exciting. Plus, for those of us who are camera shy and hate the thought of being in the spotlight, animation is the perfect alternative to being in front of the camera for your business.

The Timeline

Both live-action and animation studios are accustomed to tight deadlines and understand the necessity of quick turn arounds. However, the definition of “quick turnaround” does vary between the two forms. Live action videos can be shot over a couple days and even edited within a week. Even though the planning stage takes some time, a final video can (though not always) be produced in a week or two.

Animation is a different ball of wax. A two minute promotional video usually takes 4 to 6 weeks to complete. From our experience, if the schedule is any tighter than 3 weeks, the quality of the video suffers immensely. Animation is created from scratch – characters are hand-drawn, placed in their worlds, and rendered out in real time. Depending on how revisions are going and the responsiveness of the client, the production time takes longer. Bottom line is you will need to be more patient with animation.

The Flexibility

Products or business models are constantly changing and growing, revisions and updates are common and necessary. Animation offers a distinct advantage in this regard.

The production of live action video requires complicated scheduling and coordination between talent, crew, client and space. Changes and updates in a live-action video require the additional expense of re-booking and re-shooting. Sometimes an entirely new video must be created.

Not so with animation, where a studio can swap out graphics or re-record a few sentences in a voice-over track. With no need for actors or crew members, an animator offers a higher level of control for your video.

Although the initial production will have a greater upfront cost, the flexibility for making small changes along the way and updating content is a huge advantage for any business trying to remain relevant to their audience.

The Final Thought

Both animation and live action offer unique and exciting products, it’s really just a matter of how you’d like the world to interpret your business. Sure, we’re biased – but who wouldn’t be? We think animation is the bee’s knees. How about you?

Learn more about our animation process and how it can differentiate your business from the competition,  or drop us a line and tell us about your story – We’d love to hear from you!