When we think of video, we tend to think first of film, of 'live action'.
Animation, however, is very much on the rise, particularly as technology removes the traditional barriers to entry (You no longer need to hand-draw every frame Steamboat Willie style).
From videos scripted for social, to ‘explainer’ films, to big-budget TV advertising, it works on any level.
It boasts special qualities and unique advantages that are distinct from what live-action can do.
It’s worth bearing these in mind when developing a creative strategy.
Often the decision to go down the animated route is an instinctive choice, made very early on and without a strict rationale.
But it’s important to know why.
To know where animation is at its best.
Here are 5 ways in which animation wins out.
Five reasons that will help you decide that it’s the right way for you.
(And a couple of downsides it’s worth knowing about too.)
BENEFIT 1 - IT IS YOURS
When you are creating an animated video from scratch you are starting from a canvas that is absolutely blank.
And that’s a real opportunity.
The freedom to create a world that’s never been seen before.
From the colours to the characters. From the way they move to the way they talk - it’s all up to you.
And this is great when you are making something unique to your business. That builds on your brand and tells your story.
You are establishing a look and feel that are bespoke and will be owned.
BENEFIT 2 - IT EXPLAINS
Sometimes a piece of video content has to do a lot in a relatively short space of time.
There may be something complex, technical or unusual to explain. There may be masses of detail or numbers to include.
Animation provides clarity.
It employs a visual language to render the complex simple and the inscrutable evident.
To show as well as tell.
BENEFIT 3 - IT IS UNIVERSAL
An animated execution has the power to resonate with a global audience.
It is free from the visual cues that locate a live action video to a specific place. It will not reveal the ethnic identity of a human being.
Language barriers need not exist. Voiceovers can be recorded in multiple languages and on-screen text is easily replaced.
And a story that works on a purely visual level will speak to everyone - all ages, genders and cultures.
BENEFIT 4 - IT CAN DO ANYTHiNG
A live-action video has to follow the rules of, well, life.
Things generally work the way we expect they them to.
The laws of physics and time and space are kind of important.
Sure we can cheat this a little with special effects and the like, but for the most part, it’s real.
Animation has no regard for any of that.
Anything can happen.
If you can imagine it, and someone can draw or digitally create it, then you can make it appear.
It’s that blank canvas thing again.
BENEFIT 5 - IT CHARMS
Finally, let’s not forget that for all its other benefits, animation can also be really, really charming and warm and fun.
People instinctively like it.
From Zoetropes to flip books, from Fantasmagorie to Frozen, by way of Fantasia, animation will draw us in and move us.
There’s probably a really good psychological explanation for why that is, but that’s outside of the scope of this post.
What matters is, good animation can be every bit as 'real' to us as live-action.
There are, however, practical considerations to bear in mind.
Consideration 1 - It takes time
There’s no getting away from the fact that animation is never a quick job.
Because it works at the ‘frame-level’, whether it’s 2D or 3D, stop-motion or hand-drawn, animation takes more time to create than shooting and editing live-action.
So if your live date is fixed and approaching fast, it may not always be the way to go.
CONSIDERATION 2 - IT TAKES AN EXPERT
Animation is a specialised skill.
Part-technical prowess and part-artistic ability.
It takes aptitude and it takes hard-work to produce a world that’s uniquely yours, that charms and tells a universal story.
And while there are plenty of animators out there, they are not all equal.
Knowing that you have the talent at your disposal is a pre-requisite.
These are immutable factors of time and resource.
Clearly it’s vital to be very sure at the planning stage that you are aware of and can commit to the level of investment required.
Hopefully there’s something here that can help in your planning for video or has sparked an idea for something you’d like to explore.