When to Use Live Videos vs. Pre-Recorded Videos

While using any kind of video marketing is better than no video marketing at all, it’s important to distinguish between live and pre-recorded videos, and to understand that each has its own time and place in your marketing and communication initiatives.

If you’ve already been doing both live and recorded videos for some time (good for you!), you may have noticed that the decision to livestream versus pre-record has come down to the laziness factor. After all, streaming live is a lot easier than setting up lights and audio and editing the videos. However, the decision to pre-record or go live should actually be a strategic one.

Here are some prime differences between the two to help you decide when to use live video versus pre-recorded.

Presentation vs. Engagement

The biggest difference between live and pre-recorded videos is engagement. Live videos are a must if you want to interact with your audience and have an open dialogue in real-time. They’re great for gaining insight into what is important to your audience members, and learning what’s on their minds. The key is to take time to say hello, include a Q&A session, and get your audience involved with engagement tools, such as polls and games.

On the other hand, if you simply want to present information to your audience, then a pre-recorded video is the way to go. Anytime you have very specific information you want to deliver, and you don’t want to ramble, or get lost, or sidetracked by questions, it’s best to prepare a script and record your video. For instance, sales videos are typically recorded, which has the added benefit of looking more polished and professional, as well.

Authentic vs. Polished

The type of content you are delivering can also dictate whether you use live or pre-recorded video. More serious topics, such as shareholder reports, are typically best addressed in a professionally-produced pre-recorded video, while webinars and tutorials can often be very successful when broadcast live.

If your goal is to give your audience authentic and relatable access to your brand, then live videos are the better choice. They allow you to open up and be more personable with your audience. Even mistakes can help build a connection by showing you are authentic and human. Alternatively, if the message is of a serious nature, than you’ll want the option to do re-takes and ensure there are no technical malfunctions, which can make you look unprofessional.

Mobility vs. Flexibility

Live videos can happen from anywhere at any time. There’s no need for recording space, equipment, green screens or editing software, which makes them uniquely mobile and truly accessible to all, regardless of business size or budget. And because they are mobile, they are ideal for sharing behind-the-scenes footage or an inside peek into an event.

Pre-recorded videos have a slightly different benefit in that that you have more control over how the content is being presented. Because these videos can be edited, you have the flexibility to show both the presenter and a slide deck or an animation at the same time, or to add other graphics, music, filters and effects in post-production.

Cost vs. Wow Factor

As we touched on at the top of this post, live videos definitely require less effort. Although you still have to invest time in your presentation, live videos generally require less of a commitment because there’s virtually no production involved. They also inherently cost less. Depending on how low-budget you want to go, you can produce and stream live videos with a smartphone and an active account with a streaming platform.

However, there’s a big reason some content is pre-produced. Yes it takes more time to execute and requires more technology and tools – or a video production company that offers those services – but the production value is worth it. From green screen technology, motion graphics, special effects and music, to 3D mapping and mixed or extended reality, the options for producing a highly dynamic, wow factor presentation are limitless.

Live Videos vs. Pre-Recorded Videos: Which is Right for You?

To help our clients decide which type of video to use, we always start by talking about their goals. When deciding whether your video should be live or pre-produced, consider what you want to achieve. Are you trying to engage your audience, or present information? Is expressing your brand’s authenticity more important, or creating a wow factor? Does the content require mobility, or a professional and polished delivery? Answering these questions will help you make the right call.

For help defining your objective, and crafting compelling video content with engaging, interactive capabilities, contact Worktank online or give us a call 877-975-8265. In addition to providing companies with engagement strategies for video marketing, training, and internal and external communications, we offer customizable live video solutions and on-demand video production.

Brian Brian

Brian Snyder, Senior Director of Technology, Strategy & Solutions

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