animated vs live-action video

Animated VS Live-action Video Content: How To Choose

So you want to give video content a go. But before you can start the production process, you need to make a choice – live-action VS animated?


There are enough differences between the two styles – including in logistics, process, tone, aesthetics & longevity – to make it an important choice for your business. As a video production company, Blueprint Film has extensive experience in producing both animated and live-action videos, and in advising our clients on which to option go with.


In this post, you’ll learn about the key differences between animation and live-action video, to help you decide which style is a better fit for your business.


1. video purpose

One aspect to consider when choosing between animation and live-action is the type of video you want to create. For this, it’s important to understand which style works best for the different video types.


Some types of video work equally well as live-action or animated video – such as brand film. Instead, which style you go for will depend on other factors. On the other hand, certain video content types are best suited to live-action, while others are known to benefit more from animation:

Live-Action Video:

  • Testimonials & case studies
  • Product/service video
  • Lifestyle

Animated Video:

  • Explainer & Awareness Videos
  • Video Presentations
  • Educational Videos

2. video production process

video production equipment

The video production process itself is another factor to consider. While there is some overlap between the processes for live-action and animation, it’s worth taking into account where they differ.


With animation video, you ultimately work from scratch. There is also less room for improvisation once you get to the production stage. As a result, it requires detailed pre-production work – including thorough storyboarding and scripting work. Once that is complete, the animation work can take place. Post-production will involve voiceover work, music and sound editing.


In contrast, live-action video production doesn’t require you to work from scratch. And there’s much more room for improvisation when it comes to the filming portion of the process. You will still need to do some level of script-writing and storyboarding during pre-production – but it is less intensive. From there, it’s a matter of filming, editing the footage, adding music and sound effects, and then you’re ready to distribute.

3. logistics & accessibility

When it comes to logistics, live action shoots require more planning than animation work. Live-action means you have to consider aspects such as shoot location, actors, crew, and lighting/weather conditions.


But depending on the video you’re looking to make, this doesn’t have to get too complicated. The location can simply be your company’s workplace, and the actors can be you and your staff. Neither do you necessarily need complicated equipment. You have options for DIY solutions, such as recording from the camera of a smartphone.

Lego stop motion animated video still

What about animation? One benefit is that there are no pressures of planning and executing a perfect shoot. Everything can be made completely remotely. But you will need access to the right animation software, which can be expensive. Also, most animated videos have a voice-over. So you would need to find voice-over talent and arrange a recording. 

4. Tone & feel of video

JPS Energy Animated video still of house

What tone do you want your video to convey? The choice between live-action and animation can set the tone for your video marketing campaign. After all, audiences have different associations for live-action and animation. Of course, you can take the challenge of breaking away from these assumptions. Animated TV shows targeted at adults have meant animation is not solely associated with childhood.

Live-Action Video:

  • Authentic
  • Human & personal
  • Realistic & down-to-earth
  • Relatable
  • Serious

Animated Video:

  • Playful & childlike
  • Charming & bright
  • Optimistic
  • Adds extra personality
  • Less personal

5. appearance & aesthetics

Another thing to consider is how your video’s appearance and aesthetics are determined by whether you go with animated or live-action content. Let’s compare.

Still from JPS energy animated explainer of man using laptop at desk
Still from Bloomfield Sustainable Services Animated Explainer video

Animation opens you up to an endless variety of styles to work with. These include stop-motion, 2D, 3D, motion graphics and typography. On top of that, you can make the animations match any colour scheme you want. For instance, we produced an animated film for Bloomfield Sustainable Solutions using only their brand colours – black and yellow.

Still from Nella Video

With live-action, there’s naturally less scope for out-of-the-box stylistic choices as you are limited to real-world people and environments. But that doesn’t mean all live-action video content looks the same. You can get unique angles and perspectives with different shooting methods and equipment – such as drone filming, probe lenses and more. Also, post-production editing can apply filters and colour-grading to give your content a distinctive look.

6. video updates & longevity

We’ve discussed how the differences between animation and live-action affect the video production process. But how will the choice between animation and live-action affect the longevity of your video content, after production has finished?


If you want to update your live-action video with new footage, you will have to go through the task of arranging additional shoots.


The process of updating animated videos is more straightforward. Instead, you can simply alter the animations and text. To demonstrate, check out how we updated existing animated content with Spanish translations (see here).

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Amy Hart

Amy Hart

Amy joined the Blueprint Film team in 2022 as Business Development Officer. She takes care of all things marketing and business growth.

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