Deciding what type of video to make

How do you decide what kind of video to make?  Animated?  Live-action?  Or do you use stock video?

In this article, we’ll break down a few approaches you can take for your videos depending on the project needs and budget.


Animation is a great option for projects where it’s either too costly or too complicated to film in person.  It is also great to use for intangible products and services such as marketing online products or services, political advertising, concepts, presenting abstract information such as statistics or numbers, or breaking down complicated information.

A few benefits of animation are:

  • Eliminates logistical concerns regarding locations, crew, and shooting days.
  • Requires no actors (except maybe voice over talent)
  • Longevity – the ability to update the animation over time.  Much more cost-effective than having to refilm.
  • Explains more abstract concepts – great to use for intangible products or ideas.

Check out an example of an animated project we did.


(click the image above to check it out)

Animation was the right choice for this project because it needed to convey an abstract concept, would have been too costly to film and the imagery and messaging needed to be tightly controlled.

Live-action video

The key with live-action is authenticity and how immersive it is  Live-action creates more of a humanizing feeling for a project.  It makes it seem more real and believable.  While animation is good to use for the intangible, live-action is better suited towards more tangible products and services such as product marketing and video training.

A few key benefits of live-action video are:

  • Humanising and personal – makes the subject matter feel more authentic, personal, and relatable
  • Shows how things work in practice – for tangible products and processes, live-action is almost always the best way to go to show how something looks, feels, and works.
  • Usually faster – Live-action can be quicker than animation depending on the size of the project.

Check out an example of a project we did that utilized live-action.

(click the image above to check it out)

Live-action was the right choice for this particular video because it was about a tangible subject – training routines for baseball.  The subject matter was better served by showing actual visuals of the player’s training and speaking about their training routines then it would have been had we done this as an animation.

Edited Stock Video

If you want the authentic feeling of live-action but have a limited budget, stock video could be a good option.

Stock video gets a bad rap and most people imagine clips like these when stock video is mentioned.  There is a wide range of options these days with services like Shutterstock and FilmSupply which offer very high-quality footage at reasonable prices.

Some key benefits of using stock footage are:

  • Cost-effective
  • Wide variety of options
  • Similar to animation requires no actors outside of possibly voice actors.
  • Easy to make changes – replacing stock footage is far easier than reanimating or refilming

Check out a project we made for a client using nothing but stock footage.

(click the image above to check it out)

Using stock footage for this project was the right choice because the subject matter was better served by using real people and locations, yet the budget of the project was too small to actually film.  The client also wanted to control the imagery and messaging more tightly which means that quick edits needed to be made to swap out certain clips with others.

The choice to use either animation, live-action, or stock footage depends on your budget and the goals of your project.  If you’d like to learn more, reach out. We’d love to help!

Posted on January 25, 2021 in Uncategorized

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