Tips & Tricks

Video or animation – which is better for your product or company presentation?

Posted by Colin Higton

If a picture is worth a thousand words – surely a live-action video must be worth ten times that – right?

Well yes and no. A well made video will undoubtedly bring a story to life in a way that is almost impossible to beat. Compelling narration, fantastic flowing camera work and inspiring music all work together to create a magical experience that is a pleasure to watch. Throw in some computer generated 3D images and inspiring video of your product or team and you’ve got a sure fire winner.

But is that what you will get, and if you do, just how much will it all cost?

Let’s put aside for a moment the cost of getting a high quality video-production team to make sure the technical side of the project is taken care of. Creating natural lighting, making sure the locations are clear and accessible, halting your output while the filming takes place – all these things mean getting access to film in the business can be really difficult.

Getting hold of all the right staff at the right time can be even worse. Competing diaries and busy schedules mean people may not be available – and on more than one occasion we have seen clients finish hours of filming only to find that one of the key people featured in the video announces they are leaving to work for a competitor.

But let’s not worry about that for now – let’s say we’ve got all that sorted.

Unless you bring in professionals, the people you do actually film probably won’t be naturals, and you may well end up with awkward performances from key people who find they really don’t want to be on camera. Worse still you might find you get a few enthusiastic people who REALLY want to be the one on-screen. Statistically, some of these are bound to be hugely talented presenters who turn in convincing and natural performances – but you know what they say about statistics…

Unfortunately all that can mean that what was meant to be a Hollywood spectacular can turn out to be dull, monotonous and tedious – and that’s the problem. We all know what high quality, entertaining movies look like – so when we see one that misses we stop focussing on the message – and just shoot the messenger!

The alternative is to take a more manageable approach, that brings out the best in your message and focusses on the presentation. You can do this by creating simple but effective animations – made using drawn characters or still images depending on your message and audience. These can be combined with effective typography that carry key messages that help your viewers focus less on the delivery, and more on the message itself.

Good photography can make your product and locations look great, and humour that would seem stilted and contrived if delivered on video can be made to work well in animation.

And that’s another important benefit. Done well, an animated movie will work just as strongly with the sound off as it does with the full sound track. Voice-overs and backing tracks can always add value when done well – but bear in mind that at least half of your audience is likely to view your movie without sound because they are in an office or on the train.

So whatever you are looking to present, a movie is a great way to bring life, movement and engagement to your message – but think twice about how you approach it.

A live action video done well will win awards and engage the viewer like nothing else can – but unless you give it the resources, commitment and talent it needs, you will almost certainly be better aiming for a more achievable goal that can achieve just as much, but is much, much easier for you to control.

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