When deciding on a visual medium to showcase your ideas, there are distinct benefits to using animation, live action video, or other stylistic options. First, it helps to assess your resources — budget, equipment, manpower, and time — to see which approach is more effective. There is no "correct" answer to the animation vs. video question, but if you harness your team's unique advantages, the end product will be much stronger than if you stubbornly choose a visual style beforehand. Below, we've outlined a few tips to help clarify whether animation or live action is more appropriate for your project.
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Analyze the Costs
Any video project is going to cost money, even if you're renting equipment and using volunteer actors. At the professional level, though, live action projects are typically much more expensive than their animated counterparts. You'll need to pay for talent, cameras, lights, film (or memory sticks), editing software, and many other expenses along the way. On the other hand, quality stop-motion animations just require a camera, tripod, computer, and lots of free time. You can make them with clay, paper cutouts, or any other materials you have lying around.
Work Within Time Constraints
This begs the question: how much time do you have to complete this project? If you're working with a hard deadline, animation is probably not the smartest choice. Inevitably, things will go wrong while capturing animation frames, and you'll need to re-do certain scenes. Just one minute of animated video may take days to complete; it's an extremely time-intensive process. Conversely, live action re-shoots are not as big of a headache, and the overall project should take less time to complete.
Consider the Audience and Subject Matter
Finally, it helps to define your audience and make an educated choice about whether animation is the best medium for telling your story. Children and adults love animation, so you can engage all age groups with a few colorful characters. However, not all subject matter lends itself to an animated style. For example, if you're trying to portray complex human emotions, it's probably easier to find some talented actors than to painstakingly animate a subtle scene.
In summary, animation is usually a better option if you're trying to be bold, or want to make mundane details feel more exciting. Live action, on the other hand, allows you to showcase the intricacies of human expressions and emotions. When choosing animation vs. video, go with the medium that matches your budget, time constraints, and storytelling goals.