Pixelworks to bring TrueCut Motion tech to Disney movies

Mike Wheatley

Shares of the video and motion technology software company Pixelworks almost doubled in value after it revealed it has signed a big contract with Walt Disney Studios to bring a collection of “TrueCut Motion”-graded titles to compatible home entertainment devices.


California-based Pixelworks’ software is all about maintaining the filmmaker’s original intent, which it does by eliminating motion playback anomalies while maintaining the correct brightness level during playback. It’s a relatively new and nascent technology that – so far – has struggled to gain mass adoption, despite being lauded by a number of filmmakers. However, the big jump in Pixelworks’ share price suggests that the deal with Disney may be a gamechanger for its long-term prospects.

In a statement, Pixelworks said its tech is all about preserving the “authentic cinematic motion look and feel” of the source content.

“At Disney, we are always looking for ways to elevate the viewer experience,” said Rachel Hutter, Head of Operations at Disney Studios. “TrueCut Motion technology brings a new level of creative reach to our filmmakers like never before.”

What is TrueCut Motion?

TrueCut Motion is an award-winning technology that provides filmmakers with shot-by-shot motion grading tools to deliver next-level visuals for their storytelling. The software works by correcting motion anomalies that commonly occur on brighter consumer displays, in order to ensure that creative choices are more precisely mastered into the source material and replicated on screen more accurately, as the filmmaker envisaged.

The technology is somewhat similar to the dynamic metadata that’s used to generate HDR content, only it works for motion rather than colour and contrast. The idea is that viewers will see the motion represented just as the creator intended it to be seen. For instance, a 24 frame-per-second slow-panning shot may well look stuttery on some modern TVs that have much higher frame rates. With TrueCut, directors can render these shots in 48 fps at the source, so it appears much smoother when replicated on supported TVs.

One of the biggest fans of TrueCut Motion technology is the director James Cameron, who previously lauded its capabilities after applying it in Avatar: The Way The Water. Despite this, the technology remains unfamiliar to many movie aficionados and is not widely supported, though some of TCL’s higher-end Mini-LED TVs are compatible with it.

The deal with Disney is likely to gain more visibility for the TrueCut Motion standard, and if that happens it’s likely to boost the fortunes of Pixelworks quite dramatically. The stock has been in big demand since the news was first announced last week, with more than 54 million shares traded in a single day, up from an average of just 177,000 per day prior to the news.

Pixelworks’ stock had gained just 4% over the previous year, prior to jumping by more than 40% in the hours after the announcement.

“Disney once again is extending the boundaries of the home cinematic experience, empowering its filmmakers to delight their audiences, and we are proud to be a part of it,” said Richard Miller, General Manager of TrueCut Motion at Pixelworks.