Live action

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"Live Action" redirects here. For other uses, see Live Action (disambiguation).
For live action in role-playing games, see live action role-playing game.

In filmmaking, video production, and other media, live action refers to cinematography or videography that is not animated, sometimes based on its original animated series.[1] As it is the norm, the term is usually superfluous, but it makes an important distinction in situations in which one might normally expect animation, as in a Pixar film, a video game or when the work is adapted from an animated cartoon, such as Scooby-Doo, The Flintstones or 101 Dalmatians films, or The Tick television program. Use of puppets in films such as The Dark Crystal is also considered to be live action, provided that stop-motion is not used to animate them.

The term is also used within the animation world to refer to non-animated characters: in a live-action/animated film such as Space Jam, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, or Mary Poppins in which humans and cartoons co-exist, "live-action" characters are the "real" actors, such as Bob Hoskins and Julie Andrews, as opposed to the animated "actors", such as Roger Rabbit himself.

Live action can also mean that a film or a television show is adapted from comics. Adaptations from comics include live-action film versions of Men in Black, Dick Tracy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Marvel Comics' Spider-Man or Captain America, DC Comics' Superman and Batman or manga such as Death Note or Detective Conan.

As use of computer-generated imagery (CGI) in films has become a major trend, some critics, such as Mark Langer, have been discussing the relationship and overlap between live action and animation. These new films that use computer-generated special effects can not be compared to live action films using cartoon characters because of the perceived realism of both styles combined.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Merriam Webster Online Dictionary". Merriam-Webster. 
  2. ^ McMahan, Alison (2014-08-21). "Hollywood's Transition to CGI". The Films of Tim Burton: Animating Live Action in Contemporary Hollywood. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. ISBN 013210475X. Retrieved 2014-12-19.