You want to get a message across but don’t know if it’s best shown with animation, or with live people. Here’s what we often suggest.


What is the difference between animation and live-action?

Live-action is very straight-forward; it’s video with real people in front of the camera. Conversely, animated video means the video is comprised of moving graphic elements. There is a multitude of different animation styles – even just text that moves across the screen can be considered animation. This means there is a healthy amount of flexibility with varying budgets. On the higher end are standard drawn-style animation and 3D animation. However, there are also simpler animations using pre-created flat icons. When looking to produce an animated video for your marketing, eLearning, or communications content, you stand to make the most use of your budget with a producing team that understands what scope of animation gives you the best dollar value.

To choose between the two, think about what you need to say. At the end of the day, are you trying to teach something, or get the viewer to feel a certain way?


Animation works for complex concepts

If you’re working with complex or information-heavy subject matter, like complicated software, brand-new tech, or finance, then, animation is a great choice. Imagine trying to describe difficult mathematics, or stats to someone without visual aids. You’ll usually want to show something pictorial that nicely summarizes your point. Animation lets you explain big concepts in simple, appealing and very visual ways, which helps viewers understand quicker and remain engaged.


Live-Action is good for emotion

However, if your goal is less about teaching the viewer something and more about getting them to feel a certain way, like excitement or pride towards your brand, then live action may have the most impact. People connect with other people, especially when there is a story you can tell. And that engagement can drive stronger brand and company appeal. As we’ve mentioned before, though, when going the live action route make sure that the person appearing on camera is the best person to represent your brand. Sometimes you want the person that connects the most with your intended audience to speak your message, not necessarily the “most knowledgable person.”


You can use both animation AND live-action!

You can definitely make use of both forms of content in a single video – in fact, this can usually be the best approach to your content. What tends to work the best is live-action video that is supplemented by occasional moments of animation when a more complicated concept arises. However, sometimes your budget may not have the luxury of incorporating both. Or, you may not have the time to coordinate many different people to film video content, in which case you’d prefer an animation video. There are many practical factors that go into making a video, but if you can take into account the purpose different stylistic choices offer, than you’ll be in a better position to make effective creative decisions that work for your objective.


Ready to take a hand at making your own video content? Check out our extensive online course to become your own DIY video making expert. Prefer to let a professional team handle your video content? Contact us here to get started with Arc and Crown Media!

Let's talk about how video can improve your communications