Live Action vs Animation: Which Video Style is Right for Your Business?

In this blog post, we’ll explore the pros and cons of live action and animation videos to help you choose the right approach for your next project

Published: November 8, 2023

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Video content has become a powerful tool for businesses to engage with their audiences. Whether it’s for marketing, training, or customer service, videos offer a dynamic way to convey messages and capture the viewer’s attention.

When it comes to creating videos, one of the crucial decisions you’ll need to make is live action vs animation. Both styles have their strengths and weaknesses, and the choice between them can significantly impact the way your brand communicates its message.
In this blog post, we’ll explore live action vs animation and reasons why a brand might choose one style over the other.


Live Action – Bringing Authenticity to the Forefront:

What is Live Action?

Live action videos are a type of video content that features real people, physical objects, and real-world settings. These videos are created by capturing footage using cameras and then editing and arranging that footage to produce the final video.

Types of Live Action Videos:

1. Customer Testimonial Videos

These are short video clips featuring satisfied customers sharing their positive experiences with a product, service, or brand. They showcase real individuals discussing how the product or service has benefited them, addressing its key features and highlighting its value.

2. Product Demonstrations

These are concise visual presentations that showcase how a product functions, its key features, and its benefits in a practical and informative manner. They are designed to provide potential customers with a clear understanding of how the product works and how it can meet their specific needs, helping them make informed purchasing decisions.

3. Behind-the-Scenes Videos

These videos offer viewers an exclusive glimpse into the inner workings of a company or project, showing the behind-the-scenes processes, people, and efforts that go into creating a product or delivering a service. They provide transparency and humanise the brand, fostering a sense of connection and authenticity with the audience by revealing the often unseen aspects of a business or creative endeavour.

4. Company Culture Videos

These videos provide an inside look into the values, environment, and ethos of a company, showcasing its unique work atmosphere, employee interactions, and shared values. They aim to communicate the company’s identity and work culture to potential employees, clients, and partners, offering insights into what it’s like to be part of the organization and helping to attract individuals who resonate with its culture and values.

5. Interviews with Experts

These videos involve engaging conversations with individuals who possess deep knowledge, experience, or authority in a specific field or subject matter. They provide valuable insights, analysis, and expertise on relevant topics, allowing viewers to gain a deeper understanding of complex issues or industry trends.

Why Choose Live Action?

Live action videos offer a sense of authenticity and human connection that is difficult to replicate with animation. Here are some scenarios in which live action might be the preferred choice for your business:

Building Trust:

If your brand values trust and transparency, live action videos can be a great choice. Seeing real people within your organization or satisfied customers on screen can help build trust with your audience.

Demonstrating Products or Services:

For industries where showcasing the physical attributes of products or services is crucial, live action excels. For example, a restaurant can create live action videos to showcase its dishes and ambiance.

Personal Branding:

If your brand relies heavily on personal branding or features a charismatic founder or spokesperson, live action videos can leverage their presence to establish a deeper connection with the audience.

Testimonials and Interviews:

Live action is ideal for capturing authentic testimonials from satisfied customers or conducting interviews with experts in your industry.

Real-World Scenarios:

When you want to depict real-world scenarios, such as customer interactions or employees at work, live action is the way to go.

Real-World Example – Coca-Cola:

Coca-Cola, relies heavily on live action in its marketing efforts. Their iconic holiday ads featuring real people, the “Share a Coke” campaign with personalized labels, and endorsements by popular celebrities all highlight the brand’s emphasis on authenticity, connection, and real-world experiences.

[Source: ADWEEK]


Animation: Unleashing Creativity and Flexibility

What is animation?

Animation is a dynamic and versatile multimedia art form that involves creating moving images, characters, and visual effects through a sequence of static images or frames. It brings these images to life by rapidly displaying them in succession, creating the illusion of motion and continuity. Animation can take various forms, including 2D animation, 3D animation, stop-motion animation, and motion graphics, each with its own unique characteristics and techniques.

Types of Animation:

1. 2D Animation

This is the traditional form of animation where characters and objects are created and manipulated in a two-dimensional space. It often involves hand-drawn illustrations or digital drawings. Classic examples of 2D animation include Disney’s hand-drawn animated films like “The Lion King” and “Aladdin.”

2. 3D Animation

This involves creating characters, objects, and environments in a three-dimensional digital space. This type of animation is commonly used in movies, video games, and computer-generated imagery (CGI) in various industries. Notable examples include Pixar’s animated films like “Toy Story” and “Finding Nemo.”

3. Stop-Motion Animation

This is a technique where physical objects or puppets are manipulated and photographed frame by frame. Each frame represents a slight change in the object’s position or appearance. When played in sequence, it creates the illusion of movement. Famous examples of stop-motion animation include “Wallace and Gromit” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

4. Motion Graphics

This involves the animation of graphical elements, text, and visual effects to convey information, ideas, or concepts. It’s commonly used in advertisements, explainer videos, and title sequences in films and television.

Why Choose Animation?

Whether it’s 2D, 3D, or motion graphics, animation provides limitless creative possibilities. Here are some scenarios in which animation might be the right choice for your business:

Complex Concepts:

If your business deals with intricate or abstract concepts that are challenging to convey visually with live action, animation can simplify and clarify these ideas.

Brand Consistency:

Animation allows for precise control over your brand’s visual identity, ensuring consistency in every frame.


Animation is a versatile medium for storytelling. You can create fantastical worlds, unique characters, and visually stunning narratives.

Explainers and Tutorials:

Animation is excellent for creating explainer videos and tutorials. It can simplify complex processes and engage the viewer with colourful visuals.


Animation can be more cost-effective in the long run, as it eliminates the need for on-location shooting and talent fees.

Real-World Example – Apple:

Apple, known for its sleek and futuristic brand image, often opts for animation in its marketing campaigns. Whether it’s showcasing the inner workings of their devices in 3D animation or presenting abstract concepts with elegant motion graphics, Apple leverages animation to align with its brand identity of innovation and precision.

[Source: apple insider]


Live Action vs Animation: The pros and cons

Pros of Live Action:

1. Authenticity: Live action videos feature real people, places, and objects, conveying authenticity and human connection.

2. Emotional Impact: Live action allows you to evoke emotions more effectively through facial expressions, body language, and real-life settings

3. Credibility: Seeing real people can enhance your brand’s credibility and trustworthiness.

4. Quick Production: Live action videos can often be produced more quickly than animation, making them suitable for timely content.

5. Versatility: Live action can be used for a wide range of content types, from product demonstrations and testimonials to interviews and behind-the-scenes footage.

Cons of Live Action:

1. Limited Control: You have less control over real-world variables, such as weather or unexpected events, which can affect the production process.

2. Dependence on Talent: The success of live action videos often relies on the performance and availability of talent, including actors and presenters.

3. Inflexibility: Live action may not be suitable for content that involves abstract concepts, futuristic scenarios, or complex visualisations.

4. Potentially Shorter Lifespan: Live action videos featuring specific people, events, or trends may become outdated more quickly than animated content.


Pros of Animation:

1. Creativity and Flexibility: Animation allows for boundless creativity, enabling you to visualise abstract concepts, create unique characters, and build imaginative worlds.

2. Visual Consistency: You have complete control over the visual elements, ensuring brand consistency in every frame of your video.

3. Cost-Efficiency: Animation can be more cost-effective in the long run, especially for content that requires intricate visuals or long-term use, as it eliminates the need for on-location shooting and talent fees.

4. Simplified Visualization: Animation can simplify complex processes, making it ideal for explainer videos, tutorials, and educational content.

5. Unlimited Possibilities: You can achieve visual effects and scenarios that would be impossible or prohibitively expensive to recreate in live action, such as flying through space or morphing objects.

Cons of Animation:

1. Time-Consuming: Creating high-quality animation can be time-consuming due to the detailed work required, including character design, rigging, and animation itself.

2. Skill and Resources: Skilled animators and designers are essential for quality animation, which may require hiring specialized talent.

3. Lack of Authenticity: Animation may not convey the same level of authenticity and emotional connection as live action, which features real people and settings.

4. Upfront Investment: While animation can be cost-effective in the long term, the initial investment for professional animation can be higher than live action production.


Making the Choice between Live Action vs Animation: Factors to Consider

Choosing between live action vs animation ultimately depends on your business’s specific goals, target audience, and the content you want to create. Here are some key factors to consider when making this decision:

Brand Identity:

Consider your brand’s identity and the emotions you want to evoke in your audience. If authenticity and human connection are paramount, live action might be the way to go. If creativity and precision are your focus, animation can help you achieve that.

Audience Preferences:

Research your target audience’s preferences. Some audiences may respond better to live action, while others may engage more with animated content.

Content Complexity:

Think about the complexity of the content you need to convey. If it involves abstract concepts, intricate processes, or futuristic scenarios, animation can simplify and visualise these ideas effectively.


Consider the longevity of your content. Animation can be more sustainable for evergreen content that won’t become outdated quickly.


Assess the availability of resources, including talent and equipment. High-quality live action production requires skilled professionals, while animation relies on talented animators and designers.


Determine your timeline for content creation. Animation projects often take longer to complete than live action due to the intricacies of the animation process.

Competitive Landscape:

Research what your competitors are doing. If everyone in your industry is using live action, animation could help your brand stand out, and vice versa.


Combining Both Styles

In some cases, businesses choose to combine live action and animation to create a hybrid style, rather than choosing between live action vs animation. This approach offers the advantages of both worlds, allowing for creativity and authenticity in a single video. For instance, you can use live action footage to introduce real people or settings and then seamlessly transition into animation to visualise complex concepts or tell a captivating story.

The decision to blend both styles should be guided by your specific content needs and creative vision. When executed correctly, this hybrid approach can result in compelling and engaging videos that leave a lasting impact on your audience.



The choice between live action vs animation in your video marketing strategy is a crucial one. Both styles have their merits, and the decision should align with your brand identity, target audience, content goals, and budget.

Live action offers authenticity and human connection, while animation provides limitless creative possibilities.

By carefully considering these factors and evaluating real-world examples, you can make an informed decision that strengthens your brand’s message and engagement with your audience.

Remember that, in some cases, a combination of both styles might be the perfect recipe for success. Ultimately, the key to success lies in choosing the style that best conveys your brand’s unique story and resonates with your audience’s preferences and expectations.

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