Live Action Video, Motion Graphics or Animation- Which Format is the BEST for your marketing story? Unsurprisingly- each style requires a different production process and results in a significantly different visual result. But IS THERE a good reason to go with motion graphics over live action for your marketing story?
WHICH FORMAT IS THE MOST COST EFFICIENT?
In case you’re wondering- one presentation style is not necessarily less expensive than another; there are low-budget and high end approaches for everything. But other tradeoffs will come into play such as the time needed to produce footage, the ease (or difficulty) of editing or re-shooting something or the desired emotional effect.
Let’s take a closer look and consider the pros and cons of each.
There are many styles within the format of Live-Action Video. On the lower end you’ve got selfie video, webcam monologues and action cam footage that puts the viewer right where things are happening. On the higher end you’ve got a 5 or 6 figure outfits complete with lights, camera and lots of choreographed action. And that perfect control over everything comes at higher and higher cost.
With the right crew you can have very appealing footage delivered in just days or even a few hours after filming. Setup that involves harnesses, lights, makeup, wardrobe, crew and equipment isn’t always easy- but it’s a VERY small part of the production schedule when compared to higher-end animation projects. For the trouble of a day or two worth of setup you can acquire hours of footage with the press of a button. Plus, for negligible cost, multiple cameras can capture angles and points-of-views that can bring new dimension to the final picture.
PROS: speedy turnaround time; authenticity; footage is easy to acquire; only choice for once-in-a-lifetime events
CONS: redos can be time consuming and costly- or impossible
BEST AT: being ‘straight-up’ and raw; creating an emotional connection
It bears repeating that there is a low-budget approach and a high-end approach to anything- so animated production is not necessarily less expensive than live-action video production. (That includes computer generated 3D). Lower-end animated production may feature lovable characters and memorable visuals but it won’t have the enduring appeal of a big studio feature film. The higher costs for movie-quality character animation won’t be much of a surprise to anyone, but a schedule that stretches out for many weeks or months will give marketing teams something to think twice about. But, where there’s a will, there’s a way! A mid-level production can achieve a middle ground of speedy production for modest costs.
PROS: consistently grabs attention; universally appealing; easy to edit & update
CONS: longer setup and production times; higher-end production can be costly
BEST AT: being a true outlet for creativity; charming & disarming; making even difficult subjects fun & accessible
Motion graphics can mean almost anything. As the name suggests, graphics and text are set in motion to provide a visual aid for some topic or marketing story. These multimedia presentations may include a slideshow of photos, live-action footage, computer generated products, 3D text, or architectural environments in any kind of combination. Or, Kinetic Text, a style of motion graphics, may feature letterforms that dance on and off screen to spell out a message. This unique presentation category can be seen in sports channel openers, movie credits and how-to videos.
Most explainer videos really fall in the category of motion graphics too; don’t let the presence of animated characters fool you! Most of the time the characters are just graphical props that barely animate.
A motion graphics presentation can be stretched to fit just about any budget out there and is incredibly helpful to bring an otherwise static presentation to life. Often enough, spectacular production is possible on a small budget with short turn around time.
PROS: cheap and fast!
CONS: logical, left-brain medium; cannot establish an emotional connection very well
BEST AT: illustrating and explaining; title animations
I hope you can agree that there is no single BEST way to tell a marketing story. Many times, the choice of presentation style is as much subjective as it is practical BUT there are speed, cost and appeal trade offs to balance. The decision whether to go with live-action, character animation or motion graphics tends to work itself out every time. Try a variety of approaches and measure which is the most effective!