What is the difference between live action and animation?

Live-action and animated videos are two distinct approaches in video production, each with its unique characteristics and applications. Understanding the differences between these two forms is crucial for businesses, especially those in the tech and consumer sectors, to make informed decisions for their video marketing strategies.

Live-Action Videos: Realism and Authenticity

1. The Process:

  • Pre-Production: Scriptwriting, storyboarding, casting, and location scouting.
  • Production: Filming with actors and on actual locations.
  • Post-Production: Editing, sound design, and visual effects.

2. Cost Considerations:

  • Ranges from $5,000 to $200,000 per minute. Factors affecting costs include talent fees, locations, and post-production complexity.

3. Use in Industry:

  • Health Insurance Companies: Often utilize live-action videos to convey emotional and personal stories, building trust and empathy with their audience.
  • Retail Brands: Use live-action to showcase products in real-life settings, enhancing the customer's ability to relate to the products.

Animated Videos: Creative Freedom and Versatility

1. The Process:

  • Pre-Production: Includes scriptwriting, storyboarding, and character/environment design.
  • Production: Creating animations using various techniques.
  • Post-Production: Editing, adding voiceovers, and sound.

2. Cost Considerations:

  • Can range from $1,000 to $100,000 per minute depending on the animation style and complexity.

3. Use in Industry:

  • Tech Companies like Uber: Use animation to showcase futuristic concepts like flying taxis, leveraging the medium's ability to create visuals that don't yet exist in reality.
  • Educational Platforms: Employ animation for explainer videos that simplify complex concepts and keep viewers engaged.

Choosing the Right Medium

  • Storytelling Needs: Live-action suits stories needing a real-world setting, while animation is ideal for abstract or futuristic concepts.
  • Budget: Live-action often requires a higher initial investment, whereas animation costs depend on the style and complexity.
  • Audience Preferences: The choice can also be influenced by the demographic and preferences of the target audience.
  • Brand Image: The medium should align with the brand’s identity—whether it's rooted in authenticity (live-action) or innovation (animation).


  • Q: What is the cost difference between live-action and animated videos?
  • A: Live-action generally ranges from $5,000 to $200,000 per minute, while animation can cost between $1,000 to $100,000 per minute, depending on complexity and style.
  • Q: How long does it take to produce an animated video compared to a live-action video?
  • A: Animation takes longer, often several months to years, while live-action typically takes weeks to months.
  • Q: Why might a company choose animation over live-action for marketing?
  • A: Companies opt for animation to utilize its creative freedom, engage audiences with consistent visual style, and effectively simplify complex concepts. Animation is also often more memorable, making it a powerful tool for storytelling and branding.

In conclusion, whether to choose live-action or animation depends on the story a company wants to tell, the impact they wish to have, and their budget. Both mediums have their unique strengths and have been successfully employed by various industries to convey their messages effectively.