Well sort of. It definitely is a competition. Not so much to the death.
I picked up How to Shoot Video That Doesn't Suck last night, and I wanted to try some "quick start" techniques on the most boring footage ever shot.
The original clip is 1:30 excruciatingly boring seconds of me driving up the street. I wasn't in my right mind when I recorded it. But I was determined to shoot a clip everyday for 90 days. No matter how terrible.
My evil genius plan was to make two clips using the main advice I was able to get from the book before I went to bed. And I was going to use the same exact clip in both Magisto and Animoto.
The advice was to "think in shots" and to use clips no longer than 10 sec long.
I will say Magisto is the winner for the overall feel and energy. Except for the fact that they left the first 20 sec of the original completely unaltered. But it's free and all you need to do is upload whatever files you want to use. That's it!
With Animoto you have to select each 10 sec individually, they are very strict about music usage, AND you have to upgrade to get anywhere near the effects you get for free with Magisto.
I upgraded with Animoto and they were basically like "You can't do that until you upgrade some more!"
The clip still sucks. But it now sucks less.
As I am trying to embed the Magisto clip, I was forced to watch it and I now see that it's 25 sec of me just sitting at the light. That's half of the video! Plus now I'm going to start taking off points for embed-ability.