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Big Plan - Small Budget

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LD's and More,

I read the Aug' 2019 PLSN article titled "GDTF: Finding Common Ground for an Efficient Workflow" by  Vickie Claiborne, interesting.

Especially Efficient = $$$ and Workflow = Project Completion

Over the years my production budgets have reduced drastically, so anything that can do to reduce cost and save time interests me.

Now that I'm here, "Where's the Beef?" - old commercial for Wendy's fast food restaurant chain.

Nobody I work with, Bar and Festival Bands, want to spent thousands of $$$ to buy 3D Designer and Preview software to use GDTF to create the MVR files to program the DMX console. I hope I got the Workflow correct ;-)

Projection Lights, Lasers and LED Wall prices are now within the reach of "The Average White Band."  -  It's Disco Baby from the 70's !!

Back when I did work for The James Gang, Alice Cooper and The Doors, bands had the bucks to buy anything new even if they had no idea how to use it.

Ten-Thousand $ Lasers and MOOG synthesizers come to mind.

GDTF needs to focus on the entertainers that can't put the time or money into programming DMX lighting.

The Aerosmith crew doesn't need to worry, so much about "Efficient Workflow," if the results look G-R-E-A-T.

I'm just saying...

Jim L., Producer

Masterworks Studios




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The online fixture builder allows for building objects/models from either a default range of primitives/parts or Imported 3DS files you create yourself/purchase. The online fixture builder should be the only 3D program you'll need to create either the .GDTF or .MVR files, it's an 'open-source' parser of the data. The fixture builder generates the .GDTF file format and it would be great if they improve it to also spit out the .MVR type as well, but at the wiki for the format you'll find this explanation of the file:


The file is an uncompressed ZIP archive file containing a set of files. The files are stored in the root level within the archive without using nesting folders. There must be at least one root file and a set of other files. Their meaning is defined by the root file or other files that the root file defines. The file name of the ZIP archive can be chosen freely. The extension is: *.MVR

IMHO, What it will take to really get full benefit from this paradigm leap in standardization is to be able to create an uncompressed zip folder[eh, maybe checkSum as well....]and some low cost DMX control/visualizer software that consumes the formats; eventually.  MA Lighting series comes to mind immediately as the fixture profile schema follows very closely how MA desks understand "fixtures"; ;), and MA3 will consume GDTF as well, not sure about MVR.

To me, GDTF is about allowing manufacturers of gear/fixtures to be able to control how their items function across a spectrum of platforms...and getting everybody on the same page in how we conceptualize 'attributes' and how they're controlled.



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Thanks for you comment Rex,

You are correct, as I see it, this is the front end of the development process for gathering and building the DB.

The data  GDTF has,  can now be used by a user interface that turns this data into a  DMX project file.

The first thing you ask a client, in designing a business application is, "What do you want the reports to look like?"

Once you know that, you can develop all the tables, records and routines to give them those reports.

I learned that from 30 years of application programming.

To sell more, lighting manufactures need to find more users who need there products.

Unfortunately, the people who need these products the most, are performers and musicians, not lighting directors.

I'll bet Garth Brooks could design one hell of a light show, if the process wasn't so darn complicated!

He has his own Recording Business because he knows what music fans like, even if they are listing to another singer. Smart...

I wish there was a design program, where the user could drag and drop the fixtures on a blank stage, then add a motion for that fixture on a time line, just like you edit video.

Save it. Run it and sent it to the console. Done.

Your Thoughts?

Jim L., Producer

Masterworks Studio

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Hey Jim!

I hope this finds you well. Wanted to see if I could help with your thoughts above. The overall goal for the GDTF database is to help find a common ground between any application that wants to use the info stored in these files by utilizing a certain naming scheme. I'm not a developer so I can't really speak of anything to any coding and such haha! 

In regards to the lighting manufacturers needing to find more users for their products, GDTF isn't meant to be a marketing tool for them, but merely a better way for them to put all the information about their product into one place and not having to rely on a 3rd Party to correctly understand the functions of their product. (best way I could say it haha!) The building of a GDTF file is still only an option for them, because if certain platforms whether it be a visualizer, CAD program, controller software, etc etc don't have GDTF implemented, then it is on the developer of the application platform to build their own script per their specifications. This is where a lot of info can get lost in translation between the manufacturer and developers, which is why GDTF came about which is great. 

A wonderful thing about GDTF is that it's not only limited to lighting, it's limited to anything that doesn't utilize the current DMX512 control standard which is toally fine. This could be anything from lighting to video to lasers to well, anything that can be controlled remotely if implemented by DMX512. 

In regards to an application that utilizes timeline based programming, I'm sure there could be something developed if not already which would then just need to add in the GDTF libraries to their program and then get all the benefits from it. 

There's a lot of other uses for products out there than just for lighting directors. The market for architectural lighting, large TV shows, special events, etc etc utilize these products as well so GDTF isn't merely being designed for lighting manufacturers only making things for concert lighting. But I agree, I'm sure GB can make a bad ass light show as well 🙂

From what the article was saying about the workflow and increasing efficiencies, with MVR and GDTF implemented into different styles of workflows, this is a small step to a larger vision in getting information to clients in a lesser timeline (pending any circumstances on the project) and more accurately. 

I hope this helps about why the GDTF library and MVR were put together.




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