10 Replies Latest reply on Nov 2, 2009 9:50 AM by philmodjunk

    A serious deficiency in Filemaker Pro



      A serious deficiency in Filemaker Pro


      Here's what I'm trying to do: make a casting database for auditions. Names, dates, emails are easy of course, and adding a single photo is a piece of cake.  Here's where it becomes difficult: I need to add three more photos: front, side, back.


      I can import them from a digital camera (preferred) but also from a folder.  Filemaker, it seems, is capable of only importing a single photo into a record.  Seems ridiculous but I've had advice on other forums and from Craigslist from Filemaker experts and they advise me to make tables and related databases and put in portals and that sort of thing.


      Sounds fine -- way more complicated than it should be but I suppose it's fine.  My question is this: what's wrong with this application that it can't simply import four photos into a record?  I don't need to name them or even give them an index number: I just want to import four photos into a particular record.


      I can't figure out why this sophisticated software is incapable of such a simple task.


      Any suggestions on how to do this without learning programming?  Or perhaps someone can suggest database software that can perform this simple task.

        • 1. Re: A serious deficiency in Filemaker Pro

          "Any suggestions on how to do this without learning programming?"

          Well . . . not entirely. To get to the point . . . you can certainly import as many photos as you wish into one record, but perhaps they should be in FIELDS named (for example)  HS_Front, HS_LSide, etc.  Before you start complaining about the deficiencies of a software package you might want to understand it  (in this case relational database software or relational database as a concept). And yes, you may have to create extra tables to meet your needs. Others on this forum will perhaps have more specific guidance. "HS" BTW refers to HeadShot. 


          "they advise me to make tables and related databases and put in portals and that sort of thing."


          Well, that's what creating the solution you need may involve. It seems complicated at first but you soon get the hang of it and the process produces great and immediate results.


          Good luck,



          • 2. Re: A serious deficiency in Filemaker Pro

            Thanks for your reply, but I stand by my statement -- there is no simple way to do this simple thing.


            I think Filemaker is a fine application; I've been using it (off and on) since version 1.  My point is this: it really should not be a complicated thing to import four photos into a single record. I really shouldn't have to set up tables and portals, etc.


            But thanks for taking the time to respond.

            • 3. Re: A serious deficiency in Filemaker Pro

              Think of it this way: I teach cinematography. Suppose someone came to me and said "I want to shoot at a different framerate on the XDCam."  Simple thing to do; not the ordinary but simple.


              I could say "Open the menus. Go to menu xx. Scroll down to framerates and select the one you want. Be sure to turn the power off and then on again."


              Or...... I could say "You need to take a class, learn to use the waveform monitor and vectorscope and learn exposure theory and how to use the British Camera Guild calculator so your off-frame rate exposures will be correct."  Now all that may be true, but there is a simple way to do it.


              I've posted this same question on several forums and received replies from people who obviously are very knowledgeable, some who make their living designing Filemaker solutions. Not one of them has been able to explain to me how to do it. Not because they don't know (obviously they do) but because doing it is rather complicated and involves things that are much too complex to explain in an email or forum like this.


              I've been dabling in relational databases since before Filemaker was invented (I remember how thrilled I was went I worked with the first release) but I do NOT know ASP programming, or Java or things like that.  Why should I have too?


              I'm betting that there is, in fact, a simple way to do this and someone will think of it.  I'm not denigrating the program (I love it) or the people here (who are sincerely trying to be helpful.)


              My point is this: I just want to set up a database to import four photos into a record.  Something is wrong when that is a big deal.


              Many thanks


              • 4. Re: A serious deficiency in Filemaker Pro



                So you have 100 photos in a folder...


                How do we know which four of them import into each ( of 25 ) record ?

                • 5. Re: A serious deficiency in Filemaker Pro

                  No need to get into tables or portals. Just create three extra 'container' fields, called front, side, back or whatever, and import a photo into each. Works perfectly well and shows the photos as you display the record.

                  Pics in FMP


                  • 6. Re: A serious deficiency in Filemaker Pro

                    Actually, I'd rather avoid putting them in a folder. I want to keep this as simple as possible so a casting assistant can do it with as few steps as possible. I'd rather have the digital camera attached to the computer by USB and use File>Import Records>Digital Camera.


                    This gives you the option of importing the last x number of photos.  They would specify the last four photos taken.  I've tested this and it works fine -- the problem is it won't put them in separate containers in the same record.


                    I take it that Filemaker doesn't want to do this as the command is "Import Records" -- so clearly it prefers to see individual photos as separate records.  


                    For example, the pre-built "Photo Catalog" database that comes with Filemaker has buttons for both "Insert Picture" and "Import Pictures." 


                    "Import Pictures" is tantalizingly close to what I want to do, I just haven't been able to get it to import four photos into four containers I have put on the layout. When I do this, it makes four separate records with one photo in each -- only in the first container.


                    I have also tried it by importing a folder which has four photos in it -- same result.


                    The goal is this: to have the digital camera attached. The casting assistant takes four photos (slate, front, side back) and then imports the photos directly into the Filemaker database and all four photos appear in the same record where the assistant can then type in name, email, phone and role auditioning for.  That's all I really need. What order the photos appear in isn't important, as long as all four are on the same page.


                    I've been told that the way to do this is to have a separate table with portals.  Now that's fine and I really do enjoy learning more about the software, getting deeper into it and playing around to create things like this but I just don't have the time.  I remember when Filemaker was first released -- their whole sales pitch was that this was a relational database for non-programmers, it was something that anyone could use to set up their own database.


                    It has evolved into a sophisticated tool, but I just find it a bit frustrating that such a simple task seems to be a fairly complicated procedure.  So complicated that of all the responses I've received on several different forums like this -- no one has actually been able to tell me how to do it.


                    Thanks for all the response. I appreciate people taking the time to reply.

                    • 7. Re: A serious deficiency in Filemaker Pro

                      rfwilmu: sorry your response appeared only after I wrote the previous longwinded post.


                      This is exactly what I've been trying to do but I haven't been able to get it to work for me.  I've done exactly that -- made four separate containers and imported both from the camera and from a folder.


                      I'm going out to my office now and try again (sitting in bed on Sunday morning as I write this).  I'll  follow your instructions precisely and see if it works.


                      Many thanks.

                      • 8. Re: A serious deficiency in Filemaker Pro

                        Thanks, it works.


                        However, I'd like to see if I can add one refinement -- importing all four at the same time from the digital camera.  I only want to do this because it is going to be casting assistants doing this and I need to keep it as simple as possible and with as few steps as possible.  The assistants are talking at the same time, shuffling headshots, trying to be pleasant, getting the next person in the door, giving instructions.... all at the same time.  I really need to make this as much of a  "push the button" process as possible.


                        With the method you suggest, the photos need to be imported to a folder and then selected individually.  Yes.... I know.... this is a quibble but I just wanted to see if anyone had some ideas on how that might be possible.

                        • 9. Re: A serious deficiency in Filemaker Pro

                          I made this work, with limitations. Create a database - my test one is called 'Untitled'. Create (for example) fields called 'name', 'photo1', 'photo2', 'photo3'. 'photo4'. 


                          Each set of photos will need to be moved to the same folder (and removed afterwards); and in this example should be called 'main.jpg', 'front.jpg', 'side.jpg' and 'back.jpg'. 


                          Now open the 'Manage Scripts' from the 'Scripts' menu, and create a new script:


                          script Choose your script steps from the list (I should put it to 'View: all by name'). Select 'Go to field', click 'Move', click 'Specify source file' and 'Specify'. Click the 'Add file' button, select the folder and the 'main' and click 'OK'. 

                          Now from the script step list choose 'Go to next field', then repeat the process for the 'front' picture and so on.


                          In use, for each session you will need to name the photos exactly this way and place them in the folder you have specified, and run the script: the photos will be imported. Then you move the photos out to a permanent place and repeat the process with a new session and a new record.


                          • 10. Re: A serious deficiency in Filemaker Pro
                               There are also plug ins available that facilitate inserting pictures from a digital camera into a designated container field. You might want to do a google type search for filemaker plug ins and see if there's one out there to meet your needs.