GDTF = General Device Type Format
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.
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.
For more information, newsletters and discussions visit our forum or our Facebook page.
Additionally, technical documentation, example files and
more can be learned by going to our developer wiki.
General Device Type Format
and My Virtual Rig
- What is GDTF and why was it created?
- Who is involved in the development and maintenance of the General Device Type Format?
- How do I get involved or learn more?
- Where can I find more information on the technical specifications of GDTF?
- Do I have to use Vectorworks, MA Lighting, and Robe products exclusively to benefit from this file format?
- Is GDTF reviewed by the ESTA Technical Standards Program and approved as an ANSI standard?
- How do I know if a product I use supports GDTF?
- If a manufacturer hasn't provided GDTF data for fixtures, can I manually create GDTF files for those fixtures?
- Do symbol libraries in Vectorworks Spotlight and Vision support GDTF?
- What consoles support this new format?
- What Robe fixtures is GDTF provided for?
- I notice Vectorworks has an import/export MVR command. What is MVR?
- How do I export GDTF files from Vectorworks, and how do I open them in my control console?
- Will GDTF continue to be developed? On what schedule do you expect to produce updates?
- Which manufacturers support MVR files?
- Where can I get information on how to support MVR files in my application?
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.
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.
Visit the forum, where you can share questions, success, challenges, and keep yourself updated.
Additional details are available at GDTF Wiki
The GDTF Format is adapted by a variety of manufacturers. There are new GDTF files in the GDTF-share every day and there are multiple manufacturers who can read GDTF and/or MVR files in their applications. There are many supporters of this new format – See Who for the current list of manufacturers working to support GDTF.
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.
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
Yes – Vectorworks and Vision offer direct access to the GDTF file and a way to associate both a GDTF file and a Vision .lit file with each symbol.
At the moment ChamSys, grandMA3 and grandMA2 via Fixture Share can read and/or export GDTF files.
Robe started providing GDTF files for new products released at and after Prolight + Sound 2018. Since then the GDTF library has been continuously growing. You can find them in the GDTF-share.com or on each product´s download page.
MVR (My Virtual Rig) is a file format for the bi-directional exchange of data and geometry between CAD systems, visualizers, and lighting consoles.
Vectorworks generates GDTF files as part of the export MVR process (see below for more information). When an MVR file is imported and GDTF files are not present they'll be added with the MVR file.
Consult your applications manual for instructions on how to import MVR files and add individual GDTF files.
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.
Currently only Vectorworks, MA Lighting, CAST Software, Capture Visualization, ChamSys and Syncronorm support MVR files.
Manufacturers interested in participating can contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.
Information on how to support MVR files can be found here.