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Choosing Between Live-Action and Animation: Which Medium Works Best for Your Video Content
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When it comes to video production, one of the most common questions we hear from our clients is whether or not they should use live-action or animation. Both mediums have their strengths and can be effective in different ways, depending on the goals and messaging of your project. In this blog, we'll break down the pros of each avenue to give you a better understanding of when to use each one.

Pros for Live-action

Live-action video production is a powerful tool for building authentic engagement and higher initial trust with your audience. Here are some reasons you might consider using live-action in your video content:

How live action creates authentic connection  

Want to build authenticity? Live-action might be the way to go. This type of video creates a sense of authenticity and builds a connection with your audience by showcasing real people and real emotions. By seeing people use your product or service in real-life scenarios, the content establishes trust with your audience.

This medium helps you naturally see the subject's expressions, body language, and other non-verbal cues that help to tell a story. Whether it's a heartfelt story or a dramatic action scene, live-action videos can establish a powerful emotional connection with your audience.

Make your audience part of the story

Live action is also a great format for documentary-style content, where the story unfolds naturally and in real time. This format takes them along a journey, capturing authentic moments and has the opportunity to connect with their audience in a significant way. It helps them know it wasn’t rehearsed, which aids in building trust and helps directors create raw, real interactions versus planning everything in advance.


Want to build an asset library to use for future projects? All of the raw live-action footage you don’t use can be crafted into different content pieces down the road. This additional content is always a plus—you can remix and repurpose it in new and creative ways. It’s an excellent way to get the most out of your budget. 

Compare: Left side live-action, right side animation

Pros for Animation

Animation is a versatile and creative medium with a fascinating history. It’s also known as motion design, and has two realms in 2D and 3D. It’s grown significantly in sophistication over the years, and animation can deftly demonstrate your more high-level, abstract ideas in a visually engaging way. Here are some of the top pros of using animation in your video content.

Make abstract ideas easy to understand

Sometimes it’s hard to translate high-level concepts into video. That’s where animation comes in. It’s a great tool for demonstrating abstract ideas and concepts in a clear and engaging way. Whether it's a complex process or a creative idea, it simplifies and illustrates your content in a way that’s easier to digest and understand. 

How animation breaks barriers 

Using this style means you aren’t limited by the laws of physics or real-life constraints. This medium allows you to create a world that’s uniquely your own. This can be a powerful tool for creating engaging and imaginative content that captures your audience's attention. Another benefit of animation? It makes it easier to keep up to date with changes in your product or service. You don't have to reshoot footage or update real-world elements, you can simply update the animation to reflect the changes.

Using both to drive your message home

Sometimes it’s effective to use both in one video. Take Mary Poppins, for example. At one point in the movie, Mary and Bert are transported into another (animated) world but retain their human characteristics. It was easily one of the most discussed scenes from this iconic film. While revelatory in its time, it’s much easier to replicate with present-day technology. Sometimes you need to combine both elements to really drive your message home! 

When choosing between live-action and animation, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Each medium has its own strengths and can be effective in different ways—it just depends on your goals. Live action is great for creating an authentic emotional connection with your audience, while animation can create an imaginative world to display an idea. Or, use both and create a world all your own. 

At Minivan Productions, we understand the power of both mediums and are committed to helping our clients choose the right one for their needs. Whether you're looking for live-action, animation, or a combination of both, we have the expertise and creativity to bring your vision to life. Contact us today to explore live-action and animation projects that take your video content to the next level.