#11 - Open Source Device Templates
Ray Console uses a well established, completely free and truly open source device template library.
What are Device Templates
Device template libraries, variously known as fixture profiles, device profiles and fixture personalities, exist in many lighting control consoles. Devices, such as lights, smoke machines and led bars, are controlled by a console via DMX channels. Each DMX channel can be set to a single value between 0 and 255. A basic device will only have one DMX channel for intensity. A RGB Par might have 4 DMX channels for intensity: dimmer, red, green and blue. Finally a complex moving head might have 32 DXM channels for everything from intensity, through colour, position, gobos, gobo rotation to reset functions. The problem is, the console must know which attribute, e.g. intensity, colour, position, etc. is on which DMX channel. To do this, every console has a library of device templates which contains details of which attributes are on which channel for each individual device. To patch a device, you must choose the correct device template in order to control attributes such as colour and position effectively.
To avoid having to build another console-specific library or increase the cost of the console because a library must be rented, Ray Console uses QXF device templates. QXF is the format used by the Q Light Controller+ project, also known as QLC+ for short. This project is completely open source, you can download the source code fromGitHub without even signing up for an account. Ray Console contains all the QXF device templates in the QLC+ project. If you don't find a device template in the QXF library, we will create them on request and add them to the Ray Console and QLC+ libraries. You can edit and create your own QXF device templates by downloading and installing QLC+ and opening the Fixture Definition Editor. Documentation can be found on the QLC+ Website. Device templates created or edited in QXF can be added directly to your Ray Console.
GDTF and Open Fixture Project
Recently MA Lighting launched the General Device Type Format (GDTF) along with Vectorworks and Robe. We appreciate this effort to create a device template standard. Unfortunately GDTF is not open source. The fixture editor and library must be used on the MA Lighting operated website with no option to download or run the source yourself. Another great project is the Open Fixture Library, which aims to create an abstract device template that can easily import and export other formats. The open fixture library can for instance import GDTF and export QXF, making it possible to use GDTF fixtures in your Ray Console.
The Future of Device Template Management
At the moment most console manufacturer maintains their own libraries. Other console manufacturers rent databases. This all essentially duplicated the same work across many companies, we wanted to avoid.
RDM (Remote Device Management) is an extension to DMX, where devices report what attribute are on what channels directly to the console. Maybe this will eventually replace the need for device libraries. Until then we believe in supporting and using an open source library where all manufacturers and customers can benefit.