[Infographic] Animation vs. Live Action Videos: Which Is Best for Your Business?

Animation vs. Live Action Videos


We’re living in a fast-paced world, so you have to deliver your content quickly without compromising its quality and ability to drive engagement.


Among the different content formats used in digital marketing, videos can have the most impact on your business. Videos provide information about products and services in a fast and unique way.


The following statistics demonstrate the value of using video to help you generate leads and sales:

  • 64% of customers are more likely to buy a product from an online store after watching a video about it.
  • 90% of customers attest that product videos influence their purchasing decisions.
  • Placing videos on landing pages may increase conversions by 86%.
  • 20% of online users will read content in text format, but the remaining 80% will watch a video.

When using videos, your two options are animation and live action. With animation, production can get started quickly, since there is no need for a large production crew with loads of equipment. You only need a couple of motion graphics animation designers with digital tools and perhaps a voice actor.


It’s easier to make alterations and updates since you have a file to work with. However, there are more skills needed for your team to get started, so it might take longer to finish unless you hire a well-established creative agency that has a complete range of talent and tools for your animation video requirements.


On the other hand, live action can humanize your production. The use of human actors can help in quickly establishing a connection and trust with your audience. You don’t need to spend a lot of time making a live action video as it can often be shot and edited quickly.


However, it requires a camera, other equipment, and a whole crew. It also involves a lot of pre- and post-production tasks, while staging revisions may cost extra money and could be hard to schedule.


You might ask, “Which is right for my business: animation or live action videos?” To help you decide, here’s an infographic that distinguishes animation from live action videos, with focus on the goals, products or services, resources, and processes that fit into each type.


Animation vs. Live Action Videos: Which Is Best for Your Business?


What are they used for?

Animations are a great way to break down complicated topics for your audience, which is why they’re also called explainer animations or explainer videos. If you want to educate your customers about the technical or practical way of doing something, using animation and graphics in your demo videos makes it easier to visualize the steps they have to take to get the full benefits of your product or service.


Animation videos allow you to engage audiences because they can be styled creatively in various ways, whether the animations are hand-drawn or manipulated using 2D or 3D designs.


On the other hand, live action videos can help show the human side of your business, since videos in this category often tell a story with real people and real places in it.


You can leverage live action videos for your brand’s moment marketing campaigns, too. For example, you can promote an ongoing event by streaming a live video so that your online audience can take part in the celebration as they watch it in real time.


Or if you want to show shoppers how easy and convenient it is to use your induction cooker, having a real human operate the home appliance can make your infomercial more convincing.


How are they created?

Both animation and live action videos are done in multiple phases – from pre-production to post-production – but live action videos of professional quality usually involve more work and resources.


It can be difficult to coordinate the schedules of the talent, crew, and other production members, especially if the video will be shot in a far off location. In such case, you’ll need to think about transporting your team and every item that you’ll be needing for the shoot, including equipment, props, and set design. For full-scale live video production, you’ll also need a dedicated studio for sound recording, mixing, and other audio work.


With animation, a computer, animation software, and a small team of creative illustrators and animators can already get you started. You can also tap a voice actor to record the dialogues, as voice-over element can add more depth to the animation.


Another plus factor of animation is that you can be as creative as you want with it, including your choice of artwork, colors, characters, transitions, and other visual effects. Altogether, these can lend a unique personality to your brand identity and culture.


Which takes longer to finish?

It may take weeks or months to complete animation videos since everything starts from scratch – from concept art to animations and overall design. By contrast, live action videos can be shot in a matter of days, including any necessary adjustments that you decide to make on the spot.


However, doing alterations after footage is shot may be more problematic for live action videos than for animations. You’ll need a longer time to assemble your original cast and the team necessary to capture video and sound, and then it will involve re-editing the final product regardless if it’s a minor or major change. With animation, it is much more manageable to update your videos after they have been produced.


Which is costlier?

The upfront and long-term costs of video production are much smaller for animation videos. The final cost will depend on how you want your finished product to look like. On top of the overhead expenses for your live action video team, sourcing the equipment and staging an on-location production can also cause the budget to swell.


Animation videos are more cost-effective. For one, it’s less likely that you’ll be incurring incidental expenses since the entire production can be done from the confines of your office. Plus, animations have a longer shelf life compared with live action videos, meaning you can re-use or re-purpose your animation videos later on. You get long-term value and performance for your money.


To put it in perspective, the ballpark figure for a basic animated video can land somewhere around $4,000 while a like-wise basic live action video will cost closer to $8,000. A more complex animated video can cost around $12,000, and around $30,000 for an elaborately produced live action video, based on US prices.


It’s a Wrap!

Choosing which of the two – animation or live action videos – suits your business requires your careful assessment. There’s no place for guesswork in identifying the right approach of using videos to promote your business. What you need is a clear blueprint of what you want to achieve with the video, the message you want to convey, your available resources, your audience, and their preferences, as well as your company’s culture and identity.


Alternatively, you can have the best of both approaches by combining live action and animated graphics or imagery to come up with more engaging and powerful videos.


If you’re still on the fence, contact our video experts. At MicroCreatives, we love answering questions that challenge creativity.