GDTF (General Device Type Format)
Connecting the whole workflow from design & planning through control.
What does GDTF stand for?

GDTF = General Device Type Format

Why was GDTF created?

The GDTF Group have jointly developed the General
Device Type Format (GDTF) protocol for the purposes of
creating a unified definition for the exchange of data for
the operation of intelligent luminaires.

This unified standard provides a consistent and dependable
way to adapt new fixtures and devices in the lighting industry.
GDTF is a benefit for manufacturers, customers, and users of
lighting control systems, CAD systems, and pre-visualizers.
With GDTF, the tools they use to perform their jobs will work
without the need for advanced IT knowledge.

Who is involved in GDTF?

GDTF was originally conceived and jointly developed by
MA Lighting, Robe, and Vectorworks.

The file format is developed to be an open standards
technology and manufacturers involved in the
entertainment design, production, and performance
industry are welcomed to participate in supporting GDTF.

How do I get involved or learn more?

Fill out this form and the GDTF development group
will contact you with more information about working
with the GDTF format.

Error.
I agree the GDTF team can contact me and process and store my data.
* This field is not mandatory.

Additionally, technical documentation, example files and
more can be learned by going to our developer wiki.

FAQ Frequently Asked Questions
General Device Type Format
and My Virtual Rig
  • What is GDTF and why was it created?

    The General Device Type Format (GDTF) creates a unified data exchange definition for the operation of intelligent luminaires, such as moving lights. By creating a manufacturer-supported, unified standard, customers/users of lighting control systems, CAD systems, and pre-visualizers benefit by knowing the tools they use to perform their job will work consistently and dependably. The file format is developed using open source formats, and luminaire manufacturers in the entertainment design, production, and performance industries are welcome to use this open source technology.

  • Who is involved in the development and maintenance of the General Device Type Format?
  • This was originally conceived and jointly developed by the GDTF development group, comprised of Vectorworks, MA Lighting, and Robe. This development group is responsible for any future maintenance and, going forward, will include the founding companies and manufacturers that have adopted the format.

  • How do I get involved or learn more?
  • Complete the form on gdtf-share.com, and the development group will contact you to provide more background about working with the GDTF.

  • Where can I find more information on the technical specifications of GDTF?
  • Additional details are available at GDTF Wiki

  • Do I have to use Vectorworks, MA Lighting, and Robe products exclusively to benefit from this file format?
  • Currently only MA Lighting, Robe, and Vectorworks support GDTF. Additional manufacturers have also indicated their intent to support it in the future. See Who for the current list of manufacturers working to support GDTF.

  • Is GDTF reviewed by the ESTA Technical Standards Program and approved as an ANSI standard?
  • No. In the future, GDTF may be submitted for review to the ESTA Technical Standards Program, but at this time it is simply an open standards-based format controlled by the founding member companies.

  • How do I know if a product I use supports GDTF?
  • Look for the GDTF file icon, consult this website for a list of companies that support the file format, or contact the manufacturer directly. If a manufacturer does not currently support the file format and you'd like it to participate, contact the GDTF development group at GDTF Wiki

  • If a manufacturer hasn't provided GDTF data for fixtures, can I manually create GDTF files for those fixtures?
  • You can create GDTF files by following the specifications outlined on GDTF Wiki, or you can use the MA Fixture Builder to create a GDTF file.

  • Do symbol libraries in Vectorworks Spotlight and Vision support GDTF?
  • When the files are available, Vectorworks will automatically associate both a GDTF file and a Vision .lit file with each symbol. You can manually select either file in Vectorworks to choose a different fixture or mode.

    Vision does not currently support GDTF files. Vision support for GDTF files will be added in a future version.

  • What consoles support this new format?
  • Currently only the GrandMA 3 console supports this format.

  • What Robe fixtures is GDTF provided for?
  • Robe will start providing GDTF for new products released at and after Prolight + Sound 2018. You will be able to find and download the GDTF on each products’ download page.

  • I notice Vectorworks has an import/export MVR command. What is MVR?
  • MVR (My Virtual Rig) is a file format for the bi-directional exchange of data and geometry between CAD systems, visualizers, and lighting consoles.

  • How do I export GDTF files from Vectorworks, and how do I open them in my control console?
  • Vectorworks generates GDTF files as part of the export MVR process (see below for more information). When an MVR file is imported into a control console, if GDTF files are not present on the console, they'll be added with the MVR file.

    Consult your control console’s manual for instructions on how to import MVR files and add individual GDTF files.

    Click here for training on how to export GDTF files from Vectorworks and open them on your console.

  • Will GDTF continue to be developed? On what schedule do you expect to produce updates?
  • GDTF will continue to be developed. We believe we have created a robust specification for fixtures, and we recognize that the format will need to be updated periodically as technology evolves and more manufacturers adopt the format. We have developed GDTF to be both extensible and backward compatible.

  • Which manufacturers support MVR files?
  • Currently only Vectorworks and MA Lighting support MVR files.

    Manufacturers interested in participating can visit gdtf-share.com and fill out the form under the "How" section to get involved.

  • Where can I get information on how to support MVR files in my application?
  • Information on how to support MVR files can be found here.