Animation or Live Action? Which is the best video style?


Nowadays, there are lots of style options available to choose from when producing a marketing video. Choosing whether to make a live action video or an animated video is probably one of the first questions you will have in mind when you decide to have a video produced for your business.

Obviously, this is a hard decision to make because it depends on what message you want to get across to your audience and on the type of your product/service.

Numerous factors can play into making the final decision, but let’s take a look at 4 major considerations you should take into account when deciding between live-action and animated video for your next project.

1- Purpose

Live action videos feature real people in real scenes, and this will create an emotional connection with your viewers. Live-action videos are more touching and great for humanizing your brand. Live filming style is best used for companies selling products or people-oriented services.

The abstract ideas and complex concepts that make up our increasingly connected world can’t be explained using live-action footage, at least not very easily. Alternatively, animated videos work exceedingly well in explaining your services or intangible products, and in expressing abstract ideas. Animated videos would be a good choice when it comes to explaining complex mechanisms. They are great at simplifying processes and demonstrating things that are otherwise not visible or tangible.

There are various styles of animated videos: whiteboard animation, stop motion animation, 2.5D animation, 2D with cartoon element, and 3D animation.

2- Timeline
Animation can take weeks or months to complete, depending on the type of animation (2D, 3D …) and revisions. Animators are creating everything from scratch, so generally speaking, animated videos tend to take longer to complete compared to live action videos, which is just being captured on camera. For example, to film something as basic as a person walking across a room takes a matter of moments – but to animate the same thing will inevitably take longer.

Meanwhile, live action scenes can be shot in a couple of days. Since you’re capturing video in real time, you’re able to make adjustments right there. Once the shoot is done, your edit can be completed in a matter of days, which means that although you may have spent a lot of time on pre-production with planning, scriptwriting, casting, etc., the production and post-production shouldn’t take as long.

3.Cost or Budget
Live Action videos will require a team of professionals consisting of: a concept creator, a copywriter, a director, a director of photography and assistant, a project manager, actors (in some cases), an editor, a sound engineer, and a professional voice over artist. Thus live action costs will focus around script, equipment, talent, voice over, editing, music, sound…Therefore it needs a larger budget to produce than animated videos.

As for animated videos, the work will require a team of professionals consisting of: a concept creator, a copywriter, an editor, a motion graphics animator, an illustrator, and a professional voice over artist. Thus animation costs will focus around script and storyboard, graphics, video effects and Voice over. Thus the total cost is usually cheaper to produce, although it may take more time to finish.

Now here is our rough ordering of video styles from cheapest to most expensive.

Whiteboard Animation

2D Animation

2.5D Animation with cartoon characters

3D Animation

Live Action (stock video)

Live Action (filmed)

Check this blog post if you want to learn more about the factors (including video style) that influence the cost of video production.

4.Future Editing

In addition to purpose, timeline and budget, it is also important to consider how likely the video will need to be edited or changed in the future.

An animated video uses hundreds, if not thousands of illustrations and layers, allowing you to repurpose those assets in future video projects. Animation enables you to make changes to your video at any time. Whether you want to make last minute changes even at the very end of the production process, or if you want to alter few things even years after the first video was made, you can do it easily.

As for live action videos, future editing is a challenge, because once filming is done, it’s pretty much done for good. If you miss something or your camera breaks, you may not get the shots you want, which means you have to reshoot the video again thus spending lots of time, money and energy.

Final Thoughts

Who says you always have to choose between animation or the live action? Remember that it is always possible to incorporate and combine styles together and this can elevate the quality and sophistication of your video to new levels. Consider for example the videos we have produced for LLWB (Lebanese League for Women in Business), and for LeBAM (The Lebanese Band Association for the promotion of music), where we combined both syles of live action and animation.


Choosing between style options when making a video can be a tricky task. Every business situation is unique. Both live action and animation have been shown to provide huge benefits for any business.

That is why the correct choice really comes down to the production team being able to advise the client on which to use.

At Business Motion, we’ve done a large number of animation and live action videos, and both options provide a ton of value. As a video production company, it’s our job to help advice and educate our clients on the best approach to achieve their goals for the video project, and at the best value.

Not sure which video style is best for your business? Live action, animation or mix. Business Motion is the professional video production company that will guide you.
Contact us now to get started.

Scroll to Top