When to choose animation over live shot video content

Reuben Barrett - 18 February 2024

When and Why It Makes Sense

Video content is a powerful tool that can help you engage and connect with your audience. But there are times when animation is a better choice than live-shot video. Whilst both can be used to great effect, let's take a deep dive into when you might want to consider using animation over live-shot video.

What live-shot video content does well:

Live-shot video content is adept at making complex subjects more relatable and easier to understand. When used well, it can humanise a brand and make it more relatable. It's also great for show-and-tell style content - perfect for unboxing videos or demonstrating how a product works.

User-generated content, like customer testimonials or reviews, is also well suited to live-shot videos. This type of content can be more relatable and trustworthy when it's in an unedited, raw format. Plus, customers tend to trust user-generated content more than they trust traditional advertising.

Short-form live-shot video has been exploding in popularity recently within the digital marketing space, with the boom of TikTok and Instagram Reels. These videos are often more personal, funny, and relatable than longer form live-shot video content, making them perfect for quickly engaging with your audience.

The cons of live-shot videos:

Unfortunately, it's not all good news when it comes to live-shot videos. They can be time-consuming and expensive to produce, especially if you're aiming for high-quality production values.

They can also be difficult to get right. Even with the help of a professional videographer, there's always the risk that something will go wrong on the day of the shoot. The weather might not cooperate, props might not work as planned, or your talent might not be able to deliver their lines as intended.

Plus, live-shot videos can be less flexible than animation. It can be difficult to change things up once the video has been shot and edited. If you want to make any changes, you'll often have to reshoot the entire video, which can be costly.

In terms of evergreen content, live-shot videos can date quickly. Styles and trends change rapidly, so a video that looks current today might look dated in a few years' time. This is less of an issue with animation, which can be updated more easily to keep your content feeling fresh.

The benefits of animation:

Animation is a great tool for breaking down complex topics and processes into more manageable chunks. By its very nature, animation is easy to follow and digest. For example, an animated announcement video for a small business will be much easier for viewers to understand than a live-shot video of the same announcement.

It's also non-intrusive, so you can get your message across without bombarding your audience with too much information. Utilising a mixture of visual, auditory, and written elements, animation can dissect information into easily digestible tidbits without losing the overall message.

Animation gamifies the learning process, making it more enjoyable and engaging for your audience. This is especially true of explainer videos, which can be used to great effect to introduce new products or services.

Animation is also incredibly versatile. You can always change your animation's style, tone and approach, without having to reshoot the entire video. Memorable and highly engaging, animation is perfect for social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube and Facebook, where users are looking for quick, attention-grabbing content.

When it comes to cost, animation is often more affordable than live-shot video. You don't have to worry about the expense of hiring a professional videographer or renting out a studio space. And, if you're not happy with the finished product, it's easier to make changes on the fly with animation. You've got the logistics of a reshoot to figure out when it comes to live-shot videos, and this can quickly become costly if you make multiple mistakes whilst filming.

The cons of animation:

The main downside of animation is that it can be time-consuming to produce, especially if you're starting from scratch. Thankfully, you can outsource the animation process to motion design professionals who will be able to bring your creative vision to life.

It can also be tricky to nail the tone of your animation. You want to ensure that your video is engaging and entertaining, without coming across as too salesy or 'in-your-face'. This is where working with an experienced agency or animator can really come in handy, as they'll be able to help you showcase your brand in the best light possible.

Finally, animation might not be suitable for all types of content. If you're trying to promote a very serious or sensitive topic, animation might not be the best bet. In these cases, a live-shot video might be more appropriate as it can help to add a human touch.

So, when should you choose animation over live-shot video? It really depends on what type of content you're trying to create and what your overall goals are.

When to choose animation over live-shot video content:

Animated videos are ideal for stories, characters or products that don't physically exist yet - perfect for start-ups and small businesses who are still in the development phase. They can be used to communicate complex messages quickly and effectively, without the need for expensive equipment or locations.

If you're looking to produce content that is attention-grabbing and shareable, animation is hard to beat. It's also a great option if you want to create evergreen content that won't date quickly. For example, if you're a SaaS company, presenting your how-to's in animated format means that your videos will still be relevant years down the line, even as your product changes and evolves.

Finally, animation is more versatile than live-shot video, so you can align the style of animation to your brand or approach of your video without having to go through the hassle (and expense) of filming again. If we take the same SaaS example, it means you can update and add to the 'how-to' video as the product continues to develop, rather than completely refilming with every update.

Final thoughts:

Animation is a great way to engage your audience and get your message across quickly and effectively. It's also more affordable than live-shot video and offers more flexibility in terms of style and approach. However, animation can be time-consuming to produce, and it might not be suitable for all types of content.

Want to see if animation motion design will work for your business? Get in touch with Dave Clarke Design now.