We get asked this question all the time.  It really does depend on what you want to get out of your video.

In order to make this decision, you should ask yourself a few questions...

Who is your audience?

It goes without saying, but animation is not just for kids.  Animated videos can be imaginative, diverse and engaging; whether it is stop motion, 2D, 3D, whiteboard, or whichever style you choose.  But would your video benefit from a more human touch?

People can resonate more with human emotion in a video.  Sometimes a friendly face and the relatability of a person allow an audience to better engage with a topic, distilling trust and authority. Live action can therefore be a more effective medium for some political, social and business issues.  This explains why so many organisations feature a famous personality as the face of their campaigns.

This being said, a pleasant and charming voice-over over an animation can be just as effective, and perhaps more engaging when matched with inspiring visuals.

Think about who your audience is, how you want them to react when they see the video and what the most important things to get across are.

What do you need to show in your video?

Are certain people or locations key to your product, service or message?  And do they need to be shown on screen for them to be understood?  If the answer is a definite yes then you most likely need a live action video.

If your video is focused around a product, but it's not necessarily vital for it to be shown on screen, you have the choice on how to present it.  Filming it, particularly with close ups, is one way to let your audience feel as if they are testing it for themselves.  But an animator could also create a 3D model of your product with the added bonus of being able to show extra inner workings of the product. 

Explainer videos that introduce a company, service or product tend to work well as animations.  This is because animations are great at explaining complicated or abstract ideas in a simple and digestible format.

Ultimately, it can come down to factors like your intended audience, budget, video message, etc.  Explore different options, but ultimately it often comes down to personal preference.

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