5 Ways Motion Graphic Design Can Transform Your Live-Action Video

Group of illustrations about motion graphics and animated infographic video

Video is an incredibly powerful medium for sharing your message with your audience. But you probably already knew that. After all, 87% of businesses now use video as a marketing tool. When it comes time to work on their next marketing video, though, brands often don’t know where to start. Live action? Animation? Is data visualization important, and what exactly is a motion graphic, anyway? Here are a few ways motion graphic design can enhance live-action video.

Many brands think they need to decide between live action and animation when planning a video. The truth is, however, that some things are stronger together, and these two mediums are no exception. Here are 5 ways you can take your video to the next level by adding animation to live-action footage. Ask your motion graphic design agency which recommendations will be right for your next campaign.

1. Add Data Visualization to Your Motion Graphics

If you have important data to include in your video, how do you share it in a way that you know your audience will remember? It’s not easy to communicate data in a live-action video. It can be hard for viewers to pay attention to numbers that are just being recited in a voiceover. What’s more, this makes them less likely to remember data and understand why it matters to them than if they saw it visualized.

By adding animated data visualization to your motion graphics, you can easily share important numbers and key insights with viewers in a way that allows them to recognize trends and make connections. It’s a simple way to enhance your video and ensure that your message isn’t lost.

This motion graphic for Zillow overlays animated data visualizations onto footage of neighborhoods and construction workers to show trends among new construction buyers: 

In this example, clear data visualization communicates important information in an easy-to-understand way, without distracting from the beautiful live-action footage. 

2. Make Talking-Head Videos More Dynamic

Think about giving a big presentation. Chances are, you aren’t relying on your verbal skills alone to keep your audience engaged. You likely have a slide presentation with key points and visuals prepared to support what you’re saying. In the same way, animated graphics can supplement what is being said in a talking-head video. 

Talking-head videos — where a person speaks directly to the camera — are popular with businesses because they’re simple and inexpensive to produce. But they also have a tendency to be, well, a bit boring. Because of this, it’s easy for viewers to lose interest and miss key messages. Overlaying text, data visualization, illustrations, or icons to emphasize key points can help hold viewers’ attention and make it easier for them to follow along. 

In this trailer for Loyola University’s course, The Art of Negotiation, talking-head footage of the instructor is supplemented by B-roll footage as well as animated overlays and slides with graphic text and icons:

3. Connect with Viewers Even When They Can’t Hear You

It can be easy to rely on voiceover to literally tell a story to your audience. But even if viewers are watching your video, you can’t always guarantee they’re listening. 

Videos and motion graphics are an effective medium for grabbing people’s attention at a conference or trade show and drawing them to your booth. But when the video is playing in a crowded and noisy exhibition hall, chances are viewers won’t be able to hear any voiceover or soundtrack. Similarly, many brands depend heavily on Facebook marketing to reach their audiences — but 85% percent of Facebook videos are watched without sound. 

No matter how dynamic, engaging, and well-executed your video is, if you’re relying on a voiceover to reach audiences in these situations, you’ll quickly lose their attention. Next time you’re planning a video, talk to your motion graphic design agency about adding animated graphics like icons, data visualization, and simple text and captions. This will help optimize your live-action video for these use cases so that your message isn’t lost.

This video tutorial from Hootsuite incorporates animations that are mostly text-based. They’re overlayed onto live-action footage to keep viewers engaged without a voiceover. A soundtrack ensures that viewers watching the video with the sound on aren’t thrown off by a silent video, while viewers watching on mute don’t miss a thing:

4. Illustrate Complex Ideas

Live-action footage can be a great way to show off your product. But what if you also want to communicate how your product functions? How do you make sure your viewers are able to quickly grasp complicated technical processes?

Visuals communicate information 60,000x faster than words. But when you’re trying to hold your audience’s attention for the entire length of your video, you don’t have any time to waste. Adding animation to a live-action video is an effective way to quickly and successfully communicate complex information, without sacrificing the powerful effect of your live-action footage.   

In this video for Cummins, live-action footage shows real-world examples of Cummins trucks. Meanwhile, animated overlays help demonstrate the inner workings of the trucks, which can be hard to explain in a voiceover:

5. Capture the Imagination

With animation, anything is possible. Live-action footage can go a long way toward grounding your message in real life and creating a human connection to help viewers relate to the scene. But animation can enhance that scene by taking viewers out of the ordinary and showing them what the eye can’t see. 

Whether you want to illustrate what someone is dreaming, an exciting journey through space, or mystical creatures, animation can take you far beyond where live action can go (unless you have a Hollywood-sized budget, that is). 

In this video advertising Goldfish Grahams, animation overlaid on a scene of a little boy playing with his Goldfish crackers brings his vivid imagination to life:

Combine Live Action & Animation for Stunning Motion Graphic Design

As you can see, there are many ways to transform your live-action video with animation. A motion graphic design agency can help you to determine the best solution for your brand based on your specific needs, goals, and use cases. 

At Killer, we partner with trusted live-action video production teams to create beautiful videos for our clients. We have extensive experience creating animated graphics that work cohesively with live-action footage, bringing these two mediums together to produce stunning motion graphics. So the next time you’re trying to decide between a live-action video and an animated motion graphic, why not choose both? 

Kameron Walsh

Author Kameron Walsh

Kameron Walsh is an account coordinator at Killer Visual Strategies. Originally from Southern California, she spent six years in Philadelphia before making her way back to the West Coast to call Seattle home. She has a BS in photography, a minor in English literature, and a passion for gallery walls, books, and spreadsheets. Through her previous experiences as an education coordinator at a photography resource center and a project manager and content specialist at a marketing agency, she discovered her love for working directly with clients to build lasting relationships and create the best possible client experience. From your very first conversation with Killer to the kickoff of your first (or tenth) project and beyond, Kameron will work with the director of client success, your account manager, and your project team to ensure that your goals are kept top-of-mind every step of the way.

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