Fixture Personality Files and Lighting Control

concert-crowd-300x300_5_300x3002This past week, Rob Sayer, the editor of put out a great article about lighting fixture personality files and how the function with lighting consoles.

With lighting fixtures getting jam packed with more and more features, the arrival of media servers and digital projection, fixture channel requirements grow and grow. But how does the lighting console know how to control each individual fixture and parameter for each unique type of fixture?

In step the fixture personality, template or what ever a board may call it.  The personality file is a road map tell the lighting console how each fixture type is controlled.

Rob has gone more in depth and describes how the console and the personality file come together to give us control.  Here is just a sample of Rob’s article.

Using a simple DMX preset style desk, knowing the personality of a certain fixture tells us which faders the different attributes. So, we know that fader 1 will control Intensity, for example. But who wants to control complex lighting fixtures using a preset desk? Not me.

Every intelligent lighting control needs personality data to function properly. At it’s simplest, the console needs to know how to assign control channels to the different parts of the desk – Intensity to faders, Pan and Tilt to the position controls etc. When you select Gobo control, it’s no good finding the encoders are adjusting Prism.

So, the console needs to know the personality of the fixture types and these are commonly stored in a library of Fixture Personality files and set during the desk patching process. Currently, fixture personality file formats are proprietary to the specific console manufacturer. This bugs me but more about that later.

To read the entire article, visit