In our last tips post we went through some of the important questions to ask and things to consider when putting together a budget for a video production. We recommend referring to this post before moving on to the choice between a filmed or animated production.
Having a budget set is the first step towards choosing whether to go for an animated or a filmed video. While filmed productions have certain unavoidable costs such as equipment hire, actors, possible location fees etc, animated videos can led themselves to a more flexible budget, although of course creative decisions will vastly influence both the cost and the duration of time needed. If your budget is at the lowest end of the scale however, you are probably better off going for an animated video rather than live action.
For this sake of this post, we’re assuming that your budget can cater for both types of production. So, how do you choose?
As with every step of this journey (and many others), ground work is crucial to getting a result you are happy with. Make sure you have asked yourself the important questions and refer to your answers when you come to choose the style.
To make things easier, we’ve put together some notes about each of the two styles as well as some of the pros and cons you can expect from them.
Live Action (Filmed) Videos
Live action productions involve (as one would imagine), filming on location or in a studio, subjects to be filmed (most commonly involving humans at some point), camera and lighting equipment. This combination of elements of course comes at a financial cost that needs to be factored in. Keep also in mind that locations, actors and the subject at hand might have specific time and date necessities that you might need to stick to. Do you need a specific time of the year to film? Is your intended location available all year round? Are there any access / use requirements?
Shab (To my little turtle) is a live action short film with a budget of €47,000 and around 5 months of development over 2 years – 3 months of preparation, 4.5 days of filming, a crew of 15 people and about 3 months of post-production. This short film was presented at the Cannes Film Festival.
People and faces make it easier to translate emotions so if you aim to get your audience to relate to your subject emotionally, a filmed production is probably an easier route. The choice of actors might affect the longevity of the production whether they are known personalities who you might not want to be associated with at some point in the future, employees who might move on to other companies or just people who’s style is somehow tied to the present in a very noticeable manner.
Filmed productions are more direct in capturing the emotion of adventure, action and excitement. If your subject involves adventure sport, a breathtaking location or some kind of physical journey that is strongly visual, then the live action route is probably ideal for you. Filmed productions are also better at displaying an existing tangible product that viewers can experience for themselves rather than rely on their imagination. Is it important for viewers to actually see your product or service?
In general, filmed productions are a safer bet for more conservative projects or audiences and tend to portray a sense of tradition and security.
As already discussed, animated productions can cater for a wide range of budgets due to not being tied to specific locations, actors or hefty equipment (in general). Time wise, animated videos are also more flexible due to the fact that they can be produced at any time of the day or year with much fewer requirements overall. Having said that, animated videos can vary from the simplest low budget production to full length, mega-budget features that take months to put together.
The above is a simple animated video that Shadeena created for Arts Council Malta with a two-week deadline and a minimal budget, delivering great information about the Creative Communities Fund that fit the bill perfectly.
With animated videos, the limits of what is real, reachable and filmable are lifted, allowing you full freedom to roam as far as your creativity takes you. Pigs can fly, the sky can be branded with your company colours and your CEO can be made to look like a super hero. It’s all perfectly possible. Relying heavily also on the viewer’s imagination, animated videos are ideal for discussing hefty, difficult subjects that might feel a little invasive when filmed. Animation can soften the subject matter, allowing the viewer a kinder encounter that will probably go further in his or her mind.
Animation is a great way of simplifying complex matters by taking a step-by-step approach to explanation. If your video aims to break down a difficult or complicated topic and make is easier for your audience to understand, an animated video can be a very useful medium. Illustration and animation are also great tools for materialising products or services that do not yet exist and which can be literally brought to life by the animator.
Animated productions can generally be post-edited in an easier manner than live-action videos (where scenes would need to be re-filmed) and might be a wise choice if your subject matter tends to necessitate frequent tweaks.
As with everything else, rules here are completely up for being broken and there are absolutely no limits to what you can create. If you’re up for pushing your boundaries, speak to a creative team and see what adventures exist outside of your comfort zone.