Animation or Live action: Which makes the best corporate video?

By Saturday, May 20, 2017 0 No tags Permalink

Whether you are promoting your business, training new staff, reporting back to stakeholders, or giving a conference presentation, nothing gets your point across like an engaging corporate video. Using video to stimulate both the auditory and the visual senses you can increase conversion by anywhere from 64 to 85%.

Whether produced in-house, or outsourced to an expert corporate video production agency, you video requires a skilled team of writers, directors, animators and editors, poised to make a creative corporate video fit for any occasion. But in order to get the ball rolling you need to decide what kind of video is most effective: animation or live action?

What are the pros of an animated video?

Animated video production involves creating digital motion graphic sequences in 2D or 3D. It’s a great medium for telling stories, simplifying images while allowing you to slide scales and bend the laws of nature to more effectively convey what matters.

  • Animated videos are simple and stylised: perfect for use in instruction videos or if you’re sharing a large volume of data. A good example is Pinterest’s What’s Pinterest explainer video, which clearly describes just how Pins work and forge connections with the world wide web. Whether you’re conveying information that’s particularly dense or overly technical, animations can (literally) illustrate your point.


  • Animated videos can help convey humour and emotion: there’s nothing worse than a bad live-action actor when it comes to delivering an effective punchline. Same goes for abstract emotional concepts. Just take a look at this video from TED speaker Dr Brené Brown on Empathy for an example. Animated videos allow you to sidestep human failure and work at a concept until you achieve the exact tone you desire.


  • Animated videos are more editable later on: if you’re updating information, redubbing into a different language or recycling an old video, animated sequences are easier to modify and replicate than live action footage. Even Disney have been found to recycle content. All the software and files used to create your animated video are stored digitally, ready for you to pick up exactly where you left off.

What are the cons of an animated video?

  • Depending on the complexity of your animated video, they come with the downside of taking a little longer to pull together. If you’re in a rush, going live might be your only option for a quick turn around.

What are the pros of a live action video?

Live action video production relies on actors and real life footage.

  • Live action video can be more humanising and personal: if you’re hoping to make the people in your video relatable, real people can likely do the job better than cartoons. Holiday park Centre Parcs have done a good job with their ‘Get together again’ ad, which though it blends live action with CGI, places the emphasis on authentic family relationships to aspire to. Nothing says you’re a people-person better than people.


  • Live action is also strong when it comes to showing how things actually work: if you’re selling actual things, like shoes or computers, your potential customers want to see how it works in real-life situations. Take a look at this advert for Cash Out, an iPad app that performs all the functions of an EPOS system (or till). It doesn’t need a voiceover or captioning, but the visual storytelling makes the product seem hugely practical.


  • Live action comes together quickly: film can be organised, shot and edited within a few days depending on its length and complexity (of course; a long and ambitious video can take weeks to produce). But since you’re capturing video in real time, you can always improvise something different than you had planned, just like this genius bit of improv from mock-umentary Parks & Recreation. Live action has the added advantage of being less constrained by strict storyboarding, meaning it is more simple to make adjustments right there and then.

What are the cons of a live action video?

  • Live action videos are ultimately less brandable. There are fewer options when it comes to graphics, motifs and colour tone, so it might not convey your company brand as explicitly as an animated video might be able to.


  • A live action video is only ever as good as its location, actors, props, sets, and that’s not even taking the weather into account! If your video relies on precise narrative storytelling, it will only ever be as effective as the conditions in which it’s filmed.

Which is better, animation or live action video?

Breaking down the overall pros and cons of animated vs live action videos, corporate video production agency TellyJuice offer the perfect solution: mixed media. A combination of live action video and post-production, mixed media corporate videos combine the best of both. There are options to include advanced special effects such as animatronics and CGI, as well as more simple edits, like illustrative captions, graphics or text.

At the end of the day, your choice between animation and live action will depend on many factors, most of which come down to your business’s specific needs and brand:

  • Your business culture, identity, and image;
  • The message you need to express and its complexity;
  • Your audience and their preferences; and
  • The objectives of your video content.

These are all things you’ll probably need to determine before consulting a corporate video production agency.

When it comes down to it, no approach is inherently better than the other, so weigh up exactly what you want to achieve and be sure you base your choice on what is best for you. And don’t forget that it’s always possible to incorporate both—live action video including animated graphics or imagery can offer you the best of both worlds.

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