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.
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?
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?
- 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?
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
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.
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
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.
Currently only the GrandMA 3 console supports this format.
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.
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 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.
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 and MA Lighting 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.