Why use animation over film?

When I go to meet an organisation, to discuss their next video project, I often hear the same questions:

“How much does it cost?”

“Did you get dressed in the dark?”

And “Why should we use animation over film?”

The answer to the first question depends on the project, the second question is just mean, and the answer to the third question is below.

Animation isn’t always the answer. Films can be very powerful when used in case studies or when showing a real location.

However, often the information we are working with organisations to communicate is long, dense and complex, normally coming from reports or research projects. To deliver complex ideas and stats with a talking head film undermines the point of doing a video. Below I have outlined why animation could be perfect for your next project:

  • Better for communicating information: Individuals are more likely to remember images and pictures, than words. This is called the picture superiority effect. It is illustrated by the fact 65% of us are visual learners. (Assuming you’re a human reading this, if you’re a robot after the uprising, the stats will need updating for you).

  • Better at explaining: Films are great for generating empathy, but not for explaining complex information, hence why 43 out of the 50 best explainer videos, collected by HubSpot, Video Brewery and Switch Video, were animations.

  • Longer lifespan: Animations can be easily updated, in comparison to a film. As you can see here:

Also, with a film a person leaving an organisation, or changing their mind about being included could mean the content you created becomes unusable. This wouldn’t happen with an animation.

  • Simple Logistics: An animation does not require a set, lighting or cameras. It also doesn’t require all the people involved in the project to be in one place to be filmed. As a result, animation can often be cheaper than film projects.

  • Fits your brand: Animations by their very nature can fit to any brand. More than that, they can convey your brand identity.

  • Greater click-through: A study by Jotform found that when they compared the success of their new film and animation, with the same budget attributed to each, animation had a 20% higher click through rate compared to film.

  • Multilingual: The voice-over language and text on screen can easily be changed in an animation, and it not be obvious it was designed in another language.

  • Diversity: It is important that we show a diversity of gender, ethnicity and disability. With animation this can be easily done. Alternatively we can create abstract characters who have no clear race, ethnicity or disability.

  • Work silently: Animations can be designed to work silently and remain interesting.

Again, the above isn’t to discount filmed content, it has a time and a place. However, if you are delivering complex information or creating content which needs to be used silently – use animation.

Dan Atkinson
By Dan Atkinson