Why Vectorworks Supports GDTF & MVR

Vectorworks Spotlight is the industry standard for entertainment design. Spotlight’s detailed drawings and documentation have helped designers create spectacular designs for some of the biggest productions in the world.

As lighting designers and lighting programmers, your workflow doesn't end in Spotlight. Instead, you probably move your design to a previz application like Vision for setting up looks and cueing the show. And you're likely moving your design to a control console like grandMA3, MagicQ, Avolites, or EOS.

For the longest time, however, there was no way to transfer your entire design over to a previz app or control console. Only bits and pieces of information would be transferred — ultimately creating a very inefficient process and more work for you.

As a software committed to helping you design without limits™, this didn't sit well with us. So, we joined forces with other industry leaders in 2018 to create General Device Type Format (GDTF) and My Virtual Rig (MVR).

GDTF and MVR ensure that your design works the first time, every time!

Why We Support GDTF and MVR

GDTF creates an open, common standard for lighting fixtures, media servers, and trusses. GDTF files inform your software on what a device does, how to control it, what it weighs, and more. Manufacturers can upload to GDTF-Share.com for anyone to use in their Vectorworks designs.

When programming lights, you'll no longer have to go through the tiresome process of finding the correct lighting profile, mapping that profile to a fixture, setting up a starting position, and repeating these steps for every light you planned for in your Spotlight drawing.


Your individual GDTF files are packaged together, along with your entire Vectorworks design, to create an MVR file. With MVR, you can easily transfer all the information and geometry of your design to a previz app and a control console that uses an on-board visualizer.

MVR has everything packed into the file, so you — and ultimately the production you're working on — won't have to be bogged down by extra files and folders.

Unifying the Entertainment Industry

According to Jeremy Powell, Vectorworks' chief marketing officer, these revolutionary file formats are breaking down the long-standing barriers of entertainment design. “We see GDTF and MVR as a gateway to unifying the industry,” he said.

Dr. Biplab Sarkar, Vectorworks CEO, also believes that GDTF and MVR simplify your workflows: “It's just a seamless integration of all the devices and systems together. You don't have to support different formats for different lighting boards and different devices.” 

With the high demand for quick turnarounds, any shortcuts whatsoever are a massive advantage. GDTF and MVR will allow you and your collaborators to simplify a complex workflow. 

And while not all manufacturers of fixtures, software, and consoles support GDTF and MVR quite yet, we'll continue to work with you and manufacturers across the industry so that one day you can use the CAD, previz, and control software of your choice to their fullest potential. 

The Future of GDTF, MVR, and Vectorworks

One of the most exciting parts of the entertainment industry is its pace. Constantly, there are new products, new acts, and new events. So, since the announcement of GDTF and MVR in 2018, we've worked tirelessly with our partners to help develop new ways in which GDTF and MVR can help you design.

One way we'll continue our support of GDTF and MVR is with the release of Vectorworks Service Pack 3.

With the update, Vectorworks Spotlight will support the latest GDTF format as specified in DIN SPEC 15800, and it'll provide an even more robust workflow by supporting the 3D file format, .glTFwithin the MVR import and export processes.

This added support will make for even cleaner transfers of the design from Spotlight into previz applications and consoles that support the latest specification. 

Service Pack 3 will be released in March of 2022, and you can read more about it on our Public Road Map. Click the button below to see what the future holds!


To view even more GDTF and MVR-related content, click here!

Topics: Entertainment


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