Videos have become a necessity in marketing plans industry-wide but, deciding which type of video is best to convey your branded message is the tricky part. From the start, it’s important to consider who your audience is, what message you want to get across to them, where your video will be published, and most importantly, the overall goal of your video. Whether you’re hiring a production company or creating the video in-house, one of the first things you should decide on is animation vs. live action video. This post will provide insight on the comparison between animation and live action, and when it’s best to use which type of video depending on your content and overall goal. Considering these options first will help your creative mind flow and set the tone for your entire video marketing strategy.


Animated videos are most commonly used for any type of explainer video and are meant to educate and advise your viewers. An animated video is perfect for companies who have complex products and services, or an impenetrable subject that can be difficult to explain. For example, if you are informing your audience about a web or technology service, an app, or something that involves “the cloud then animation might be best to use. Why? Because, what your company is explaining may not be tangible and, animation has the ability to create these concepts into a visually appealing illustration that viewers can comprehend.

A couple other perks when it comes to animation: it usually saves a considerable amount of your marketing budget compared to live action, and if your product or service is continuing to evolve, it can be easier to update or make changes to an animated video rather than getting back on set for a live action video shoot.
The only downside to animation is production time, it can sometimes turn into a pretty long process getting the final cut delivered and perfected to the way you want it. When considering the time it takes to approve illustrations, voice overs, and the music or sound effects in your video, make sure to put extra time aside on your calendar to review the rough, fine, and final cuts.
Overall, the amount of creativity for your company’s visual message can be limitless in the animated world. Objects and characters can have whatever personality you choose and you have total control over the environment and look of your video. A well-crafted animated video can educate an audience in such an imaginative, mesmerizing way – viewers become unaware they are even learning anything.

Since animated videos are best used when explaining a complexity, they’re perfectly suited for the following types of videos:

  • Company, service, or product overviews
  • Product demonstrations
  • Social campaigns
  • How-to demonstrations
  • Promotional sales

Here’s a list of the different types of animation styles to choose from:

  • 2D Motion Graphic Animation- 2D animation is the most traditional type of animation, where the height and width of illustrations are the focus, appearing more flat than a 3D animation.
  • 3D Animation- 3D animation is when all 3 dimensions (height, width, and depth) are used to create a more realistic illustration.

  • Fast Draws- Also referred to as “whiteboard animations” and “quick draws,” Fast Draws convey your message through text and images being drawn out by hand on a white background.

  • Kinetic Typography Animation- Kinetic Typography stands for “moving text”, incorporating animation to tell a story or explain an idea by bringing your script to life on screen word for word.

  • Stop Motion- This animation technique physically moves an object so that is appears to move on its own.

  • Interactive Video- This type of animation interacts with your viewers by including steps or options to click on, having them choose the path of your video. Check out Interlude for some awesome interactive video examples.
  • Live Action + Animation- This type of video is my personal favorite, incorporating live video with animated symbols, text, or excerpts. Including someone speaking on your company’s behalf can be very personable, but adding entertaining animated visuals can engage your audience even more.

Live Action

Live action videos are beneficial to any company’s marketing content for many reasons. If you want to highlight the culture and relatable aspect of your business, live action humanizes your company in a way that animation might not be able to pull off. A live action video can set the tone of an entire event or summit, bring personality to a generic corporate business, and give a prospect or client the comfort of seeing someone face-to-face who represents your company.

The main perk to shooting a live action video is authenticity and turn-around time. With the right production team, you can have an extremely appealing and detailed video handed to you in just a few days after production. This is beneficial when it comes to event videos or any type of campaign where you need to shoot and have a final cut in a short amount of time.

Of course, one downside to live video could be budget and flexibility. For the most part, a live action video can be more expensive than an animated one when taking every element into consideration. This can include: an entire video crew, location scouting and fees, casting, video equipment, lighting equipment, hair and makeup, art direction, and much more. For example, if you want to blow up a building in your video, this is certainly possible but, the expenses to pull this off could add up. It’s important to make sure you hire a reputable company who can take on your live action video and blow the project out of the water (literally… if you want). On the day(s) of production, it’s important to capture every take possibly needed for post-production and more. It could cost you if you realize in post-production that a shot is distorted and needs to be filmed again. Since creative direction and zero production errors are crucial in a live action video, investing in a professional video production company could be well worth your pennies.

Live action videos are the best way to develop personable relationships, entertain viewers at events, and make sure your message is relatable. A live action style is perfectly suited for the following types of videos:

  • Broadcast or web commercials

  • Customer testimonials

  • Case studies

  • Event promo or highlight reel

  •  Company culture video

Hopefully this post gave you some insight on whether your next marketing video should be animated or live action! If you have any suggestions on deciding which type of video to choose, let me know in the comments section below!

Interested in commissioning an awesome new animated video? Check out our new Sparklers Campaign for a great deal on your next animation. Be sure to act fast, this deal ends August 15th!

4 responses to “Corporate Video: Animation vs. Live Action

  1. Very well differentiation between the two types of videos. Animation has many varieties such as Motion Graphics, Whiteboard, Infographics etc.
    on the other side, the Live action is done by people themselves. I think both are equally liked by the audience and people are working on both things. Thanks for sharing the article it’s very well written though.

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