In the lighting and entertainment industry, lighting fixtures (luminaires and other controllable devices) have become more and more complex, and the development of these devices happens faster than ever. New devices are designed with very involved structures; they have numerous complex color-mixing systems and mode dependencies. To give the user access to the enormous flexibility of existing devices, a method of providing accurate fixture type data, and controlling and pre-visualizing devices quickly and precisely as possible, is needed. The “General Device Type Format” (GDTF) is that method.
There are many different lighting consoles and software manufacturers on the market, and all of them use different file formats and methods of getting the fixture control information into their systems. The development of new high-end fixtures at an amazing rate creates a lack of available control data on the side of the console and pre-visualization software manufacturers. Also, fixture manufacturers are often approached directly by their clients with requests to support them with accurate fixture types. As there are so many different consoles and visualizers on the market, this process requires vast knowledge of many different systems. Fixture manufacturers would need to understand how every console or visualizer works, and how to provide the required data. A format description is needed that not only provides all of the required control information, but also structures it in a hierarchical way matching that of the described device.
The lighting designer who would like to use these devices has to deal with such obstacles. Designers often receive the device control data of a specific new fixture later than expected. Also, the data may be incomplete, because it was not created with the latest information from the fixture manufacturer.
These issues demonstrate that our industry needs a standardized way of defining the description of intelligent and complex devices. This document defines such a data format. After the DIN SPEC has been published, the format will continue to be developed further, but it is important to make an initial version publicly available. Topics for which no specifications can be made at this time, but which will soon become necessary, are therefore already included in this DIN SPEC, but with a note that no specifications can be made now.