Does animation cost more than video?

Welcome to this blog, where we hope to answer the question of ‘Does animation cost more than video?’

As with a lot of questions like this, it’s not the most simple answer and it totally depends on a number of factors. For example; What costs more; grapes or diamonds? You’d immediately assume diamonds (probably fairly), but if I’m after 3 tonnes of grapes (for my army of parrots) and one tiny little diamond, then grapes would be more expensive. A kilogram of steel weighs the same as a kilogram of feathers and a certain amount of video costs the same as a certain amount of animation. 


For a video, you could have two or three interviews and some cutaways, or you could have actors, filming in multiple locations and makeup artists, which are variables that can affect cost. 


With animation, things to consider include, how detailed is the character? How detailed is the artwork? How detailed is the movement? Essentially it totally depends on how many elements and moving parts there are. 

Video vs. Animation

Let’s talk in average terms, for the average job, at average Stone’s Throw Media, in the most broad sense possible. Does animation cost more than video? 

If we filmed three interviews, then you might have an hour’s worth of footage already, and you’ve got to strip all that down into a shorter sequence. 

With animation, every second you see has to be created by hand. It has to be drawn, it has to be moved, it has to be keyframed. So already you can start to see that every second of animation takes a lot of time. Think about how long the gap between Disney films is.

With video, you can film interviews that go on for hours, then you’re filming cutaways all day and you build up a huge bank of footage. The job then is to reduce it. 

Whereas with animation, the job is to increase the length of the key elements, starting from scratch. With this in mind, you can start to paint the picture of which one takes longer. 

If we were to animate an interview video (or the video of Mike at the top of the blog, which actually visually demonstrates this point), everything the subject does has to be created. Every time they move their hands or every time they talk their lips have to move, and it has to be made from scratch.

The animation could be very detailed, but we can also strip back the animation. So the subject’s movement can be restricted and less detail is added in. 

But also the more the subject talks, the more the animators have to work!

The answer

We’re finally there with the final answer (we wouldn’t be good Who Wants to be a Millionaire contestants, but we’d be thorough with our reasoning). 

So. On average, animation may cost more, but it’s totally dependent on what you’re after. 

What you want to think about is which solution fits you best, would video or animation suit the problem that you’re trying to solve? 

If you have an idea for a video that’s hard to visualise (see this example), because it’s a not very visual topic, then animation would be the best way to go. 

If you have a brief or a video where it is very visual, then filming it would be the answer. 

It’s a drawn out, political, but truthful answer. The cost is totally dependent. 

If you do want more detail on what these things cost, then get in contact and we’d be happy to help.

If you’ve got any other questions about all things video, animation or live streaming let us know! Contact us here, give us a call on 01902 595100

While you’re here, why not check out these great resources? 

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How long does it take to make an animation?

How much does a video case study cost?

Can you repurpose video content?

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