Mixing video with animation

The 121 Live logo

“Video and animation are like peas and carrots”- Forrest Gump. That quote might not be 100% verbatim, but it is 100% accurate. Mixing video and animation can create a dynamic, attention-getting video. If you’re not already utilizing both, you should consider it!

Live action video does what animation can’t. And vice versa. They both add unique elements to promotional videos. Most people pick one or the other. I’m here to say that you don’t have to pick one.  In fact, you should be combining the two as much as possible.

In one of my latest projects, I used both video and animation to tell the story of 121 Live, a personalized video streaming service. Because the video was used as a Kickstarter video, it had to be both eye-catching and realistic.

A representation of a user interface for 121 Live

I used simple graphics with animation to explain the “121 Live” platform

Kickstarter backers want to know that real people are behind a project. Thus, it was important to show interviews with the people developing 121 Live. It’s also really important that the Kickstarter backers can easily grasp the idea of the app. They shouldn’t have to think to get the concept. Which is why we decided to add animation to the video. The animation boils down the concept into simple graphics.

It’s this dynamic combination of animation and video that creates a strong Kickstarter video (and other types of videos). Check out the finished video below:



Here’s my breakdown of the advantages of both live-action video and animation.


Advantages to live-action video

The biggest advantage to live-action video is the fact that it puts a “face” to your organization/company. People connect with other people, not graphics. Seeing a person’s face creates a much stronger connection than seeing an illustration of the person. Of course I have no research to back this up, but it feels like common sense to me. Bottom line: People like to see other people’s faces…or cute puppies.

Another advantage is that it makes your organization feel more real. I realize that this is similar to the first advantage… (sorry, I have to fill up this blog post). It’s similar, but important. A live action video can show the actual people at the company and the actual work space. I think this is hugely under-rated. By showing the employees/building/company, it takes your organization from seeming like a faceless corporation, to a business with a personality. In a world where everyone is using stock photos and boring graphics, it’s important to make your organization feel authentic.


Advantages to animation

Using animation in a promotional video has some huge advantages. The first one- it will set you apart. Most companies don’t use animation. They think it’s too expensive or they don’t know how to find someone who can do it well. Whatever the reason, animation is severely underutilized.  It’s rare to find companies that use quality animations in their promotions (and I’m talking about those cheesy “white-board animations” that you see often).

Animation is also exceptionally good at explaining difficult concepts. It can easily boil down a complicated idea into a simple graphic. It’s just like they say- a graphic is worth a thousand words!

Finally, animation can be incorporated directly into the video (see the picture below). When we recorded the video for 121 Live, the app wasn’t done. We didn’t even have the user interface elements. So instead, we shot video of someone flipping through a different app. Then I replaced the screen with the fake user interface. This simply wouldn’t have been possible with using just live-action video.

A phone with the "121 Live" app running

I replaced the phone’s screen with the “121 Live” app user interface


Advantages to using both video and animation

See all of the above 🙂


So if you are considering making a promotional video soon, maybe think about using live-action video and animation together. Or don’t. It’s a free country.

  • Rose

    What video app did you use to create this video for 121Live?