Why pick Animated Explainer Video over a Live-action Video

Both animation and live-action productions have their place as marketing video for business, but live-action can be limited. 

Let’s explore some of the reasons for choosing an animated explainer video over a standard filmed video for your next company video.

An animated explainer video at its core is a catchy animated video, generally under 2 mins long, that explains something. It’s quite a vague term, but it covers most of the animated videos you see online in a broad way – and it’s much more diverse than you think.

Explainer video from Vidico

Be more creative

Animation is creative and can be out if this world if you want. 

Simply put, it can make you stand out and look unique.

You can show an office one minute, then a street, then a person at home, then an international space station if you fancy! And it doesn’t cost more to do so. That is not even a particularly inspiring example of what can be done with animation. 

As long as it serves the narrative, and suits the tone of the video, relates with your audience, your options are limitless. 

With a live-action video, sure you can film several locations, but time and costs add up if it’s very expansive in terms of content. Most corporate videos are quite straight forward, 1-2 locations and that’s it. 

With the limitless nature of motion design, you can say and show a lot in a very short time.

Example of a super creative animated video from Buck

Animation is versatile

Explainers videos are a lot more versatile in style than you would think. It’s not just simple icon sequences any more. 

Most companies pick their general corporate branding the first time they go into animation and probably choose a flat 2D design and icon for the illustration style.

It’s a safe (albeit potentially boring) bet.

But many more experienced brands will experiment with style and tone to fit each campaign.

When you draw each frame from scratch, you have ultimate flexibility. 

Animation and illustration design can achieve a very fun, or serious tone as needed. This gives you the adaptability to target new audiences, or to bring out different emotions. 

A hand-drawn animation style will usually give a friendly caring vibe, while sharp lines and angles can be more formal and business-like.

An experienced design studio can use these kinds of devices to tailor the look and feel of the animation to achieve exactly the vibe you want.

And it’s not just reserved for consumer-based brands like Cola. Even a B2B business is selling to people at the end of the day.

Fun explainer from Giant Ant

Duration of use

Your animation way is less likely to go out of date so quickly.

Usually, in explainer videos, any numerical figures that are referenced are not exact; for example, any charts or data you see, and any UI screens are often redesigned to simplify to look and flow. Of course, people are all fictional, unless exactly specified to copy someone.

So, because the video’s not showing such exact information, it’s likely to last longer. 

With a filmed video you can run into issues much quicker. For example, if staff leave who had been interviewed, you may need to edit them out of the video, which costs for the work and can leave holes in the content.

And so you need to organise a reshoot, or the video needs more context to explain, which kind of defeats the point. 

Or if the premises or signage are updated, you’ll feel that the video is old-fashioned. 

This happens way more often than you think!

Explainer video from Illo

Creative Control

You have complete control over the look and feel of animation.

Sometimes on a filming day, things can just crop up… the weather is terrible, an area is closed, your piece to the camera could have been delivered better, a colleague was unwell.

And even if you have a sketched storyboard for a filmed video (but plenty of studios don’t offer this), it’s hard to know what each shot will look like.

There’s always a bit of figuring out on the shoot day… a small element of winging it. Obviously a professional will still do a good job though!

With animation, you have exact control over every scene, in advance of animation.

You’ve seen (hopefully) a written treatment, possibly sketches, style frames, an illustrated storyboard, boardomatic, animatic, and then the final animation.

That’s a lot of stages and opportunities to get your feedback in, so the video is completely tailored to your needs.

Animation can cover sensitive topics

If you need to talk about a sensitive topic, an animated explainer is a very good route to pick.

Animation gives anonymity to the subject (I generally mean a person here) and gives you the freedom to really explore a subject matter or tough topic without making anyone vulnerable or a target. There is no risk of exposure.

Using animation for a good cause can really amplify your message, for campaigns about for children or those in need, it can be a vital tool.

Animated video about bullying from Emanuele Colombo


Animation is not necessarily cheaper. Drawing every frame, and animating them takes time.

But reiterating the points above, the animation may last longer, and it can be more tailored to your goals.

Unless you have a lot of VFX in your live-action production, maybe for a high-end TV advert, filmed marketing video is often the same cost or cheaper than explainer animation, but we can see it’s more limited unless it’s very high concept.

Saying that… there are generally a few varying price levels of animation (this will vary from studio to studio), so if budget is tight, it’s not impossible.

But generally, the more you spend, it’s more time you’re paying for, and therefore a higher quality animation – it’s more immersive and mesmerising. And thus a better storytelling device.

Video from oddfellows

Hopefully, these points will help show you that there’s never been a better time to get on board with explainer animation for your business.

Or at least give you food for thought before you jump onto creating a new corporate video for your business.

The options available are a lot wider than you would imagine. 

To see a range of animated explainer video styles head to our video portfolio, or if you wanted to read more about animated video production in general, or if you have an idea you want to chat about then please contact us