Will the “lights, camera, action” of a live video work best? Or will the audience be moved by the magic of animation?


There’s room for both in your organization’s video library. Just understand the basics about both types of production before you make any decisions. Let’s talk about live action video for a bit.


Basic Steps in Producing a LIVE ACTION Video

  • Pre-Production: producer/director search, writing, casting, wardrobe, location, scheduling and rehearsing…


  • Production: lighting, cameras, sound recording, hair/makeup stylist, catering, prop and set construction/dressing, performance, instant on-location approvals, set/site takedown…


  • Post-Production: voiceover recording, editing, sound mixing, colour correction, music, graphics,  Re-shoots? Translations? Captioning? Edit for cut-down versions?


Say “Yes” to Live Action


We’re Not Robots

We laugh. We cry. We rage. We celebrate. We are human. Live action video is the master at creating emotional traction with viewers. We are wired to respond emotionally. We do it naturally when we see other humans on-screen sharing their experiences with us.  


DIY Tools Are Better and Better

These days, high quality digital filming capability is relatively affordable and widely available. You’ve got a smartphone. You own a laptop with a camera. It’s amazing what can be created with the right tech in the right hands. With lots of great information about how to shoot impressive DIY live action videos success can be cheaper and easier than you think.

Maybe Live Action Isn’t For Us?



Expense. Opting for professional live action is most often a big budget enterprise: crew, talent, production companies, locations, sets and  gear. To make it look realistic, it can really cost you.   


Mistakes (and Retakes) Must Be Avoided

Need to make an adjustment, big or small, to the final video after filming is complete? Edits often require re-shoots, with full production set-up at full cost. Ouch!


Talent isn’t Always Reliable

If the star of your video is an executive or employee, they may not necessarily be camera-comfortable and could derail the shoot schedule with countless takes. If they leave or somehow misrepresent your company that can be an issue too.


If choosing to use actors, auditions can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. The best actors will most likely be represented by an agency and union, and come with higher rates, stricter rights, and distribution restrictions. Most actors are pros and won’t do anything dishonorable to tarnish your brand. But notably, some high profile sports stars have fallen from grace and tarnished the reputation of their sponsors along the way.


Performance anxiety? Pro talent or amateur, we all know it’s cringeworthy when you see bad acting. It registers immediately as inauthentic. Your piece falls flat. You have to have quality on-screen talent that can deliver on-screen.


Big Hair is (Not) the Best

Make-up, hair styles, fashions and prop selections can become dated quickly limiting the shelf life of your video. Logo, branding and an product information updates can require a complete reshoot at full production cost too. How long do you expect your piece to remain relevant and not become something to laugh at because of the size of the shoulder pads in the suits?


Got the live action basics under your belt? Now let’s dive into the world of animated video.


Basic Steps in Producing an ANIMATED Video


  • Pre-Production: creative brief,  discovery call with producer and creative team, scriptwriting/visual concept design, storyboard, voiceover artist selection/record


  • Production: animation (complete with voice, sound effects and music selection)


  • Post-Production: versioning, translations, captioning and formatting for digital delivery (video is complete)


I’m Hesitant About Animated Video


Too Cartoony

You’re not aiming to make a video that entertains children. Be clear about your design parameters and avoid any Bugs Bunny or Spiderman influences. There are modern motion graphic styles with no characters at all.


Why Can’t It Be Done in a Day

Just because it’s not live action doesn’t mean your video can be created overnight. There are still multiple steps involved in creating an animated video. Be sure to get an estimate for how long it will take to make yours.


It Should be Cheap!

Animated video is most often cheaper than live action. But professionally produced animated video isn’t cheap. Video pricing is a complex issue take your time to understand a bit about it.


Say “Yes” to Animated Video


If You Dream It, You can Animate It

Animation knows no boundaries when it comes to depicting a scene or expressing an idea. Reality, practicality, gravity those are the strict parameters of a live production, but an illustration can do whatever you need it to. That means if you have a complex concept or process or idea, animated video is ideal.   


Be Inclusive. Not Exclusive.

Showing diversity and being inclusive is easier with animation. Design characters from scratch and they will appear and act exactly how you want them to. Universal characters are also easy to design – think icons – like the ones that adorn public restrooms. They’re obviously human but otherwise very neutral.


Your Safe Place

The animated video process is streamlined, completely controllable, and the final product is efficiently editable. If live action is out in the wild, think of animation as is in a lab. Animation happens in a controlled environments with elements that are completely controllable too.


Newbies Welcome

Get your feet wet working with a professional production company. If your brand has never made a single video, starting with animated video is a less daunting task. The process of making an animated video is more streamlined and controllable. Fewer variables and more room to make changes throughout the creative process are hallmarks of animated video production.

Still Can’t Decide?

We won’t deny it, but sometimes live action is required. But animation can be your salvation. It’s full of imagination.  Consider animation without boundaries – it offers endless special effects, unlimited locales, elaborate set designs, and the perfect cast – all at your fingertips. And the finished product is totally unreal.

Live Action or Animated Video? was last modified: by

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