Skillsoft | Global Import Compliance

Is it CSI? Is it SVU? No, it’s an award-winning global import compliance training video!

When you hear the words “global important compliance,” what comes to mind? Is it words like “suspense,” or “intensity,” or maybe even “gripping”? No? Well that’ll change for good after you watch the above video.

“We had a clear mission heading into production,” recalls the spot’s director, Jordan Nowlin, “we wanted to take a type of video that’s typically cheesy (at best) and soporific at worst and give it some intensity! One question we asked ourselves in the pre-pro process was ‘How would David Fincher make a compliance training video?’ It might not be a dead-ringer, but I think we did a great job of achieving that look & feel!”

Ultimately the training video – the first of many we’ve produced for Skillsoft – was a huge success. The question, however, is how did we get there?

The Start of a Beautiful Relationship

Perhaps the most significant part of this Global Import Compliance training video is that it marked the beginning of our longstanding relationship with Skillsoft. 

As a leader in the e-learning and corporate training space, Skillsoft has produced more than its fair share of content over the years. Their video library runs the gamut, from Leadership & Business, to Workplace Harassment; from Compliance, to Safety & everywhere in between, Skillsoft does it all.

And while we’ve done more than our fair share of training videos, the opportunity this particular project presented was special.

“For us, this project opened the door to doing narrative work, which, I think, is always the most exciting kind of work!” says Jordan. “It’s a fun challenge to say ‘How can we BEST tell this story? How can we make these characters feel real?

With our team galvanized by the opportunity, we were ready to make some magic

Global Import Compliance Never Looked So Good

As soon as our team stepped foot on set at Chattahoochee Technical College (Woodstock Campus), we knew we had something special on our hands.

“The space was almost a dead ringer for what I envisioned when I pitched the approach to the Skillsoft team,” Jordan recollects. “There were some stop-and-start moments since we had a few active classes during our filming day, but overall it was a great set.”

The scenes themselves were shot on our trusted Blackmagic 6K camera, albeit with some stylistic variance between scenes.

“After talking to [the director] Jordan,” says Director of Photography, Sebastian Chamaca, “we decided we wanted to give the scenes in the ‘present’ a handheld feel to ramp up their intensity & immediacy; then, in the flashback scenes – before Brad has this earth-shattering moment where he realized how badly he’s screwed up – we wanted to go with a more stationary, locked-shot look with some character-move-motivated pans.”

The shots looked amazing, and both our on-site clients as well as our Dublin-based stakeholders who watched the entire production via digital video village were thoroughly pleased with the production.

And so finally it was on to post-production.

From Eyes Glazed Over to Eyes Glued to the Screen

Heading into post, we knew we had the footage to make a training video that defied expectations. We had a solid visual conceit. We captured some great performances and unique shots. We had client buy-in and internal elation over the content…but could we bring it all together?

That’s where the spot’s editor, Cameron Shaw, comes in. Cam already had a leg up on the project, as he served admirably as our 1st Assistant Director on set, meaning he had about as intimate an understanding of our shots and performances as possible as he entered the editing booth.

In fact, Cam might go as far as to say that this edit was even more fun than usual: 

“​​The non-linear story was a fun challenge from a pacing standpoint – making the shifts in time clear (because we were in the same space [mind you]) but without overdoing it,” recalls Cam. “The two distinct shooting styles (tripod/dolly vs. handheld) were useful, and getting to juxtapose them within the same video was cool and unusual.”

Overall the editing process went about as smoothly as possible. Following a standard ECG Productions post-process of 3x rounds of revisions, we got the pacing and visual language of the edit locked-in without issue.

However, we did have an interesting development with the color grade.

“I had this kinda out there idea for the grade from the jump,” the spot’s director, Jordan Nowlin, chimes in. 

“I really liked the idea of the scenes in the ‘present’ being way more desaturated or washed out than the initial scene where Brad enters Linda’s office. The idea was: Brad’s life is totally fine – maybe even sunny & sweet – until Linda gives him this inciting reproach. Then, as we keep cutting back to the various flashbacks, the scenes would get decreasingly saturated the more and more desperate Brad’s situation became.”

After some discussion with Skillsoft, however, the color grade concept was scrapped for a more traditional grade throughout.

“At first we were pretty bummed about it,” recalls Cameron, “but in the end we realized that as much as we loved it, if the client didn’t then it doesn’t matter. It was a good exercise in collaboration. Even though Skillsoft decided against the grade that we loved, they were totally receptive to us pitching the idea, which we really appreciated.”

Color grade ups and downs aside, the final video was a winner, and as you’ll see in this trailer for the full video (available only at Skillsoft), we put our money where our mouth is on making a show-stopping import compliance video! So good, in fact, that it won a Bronze Telly Award in the Non-Broadcast General-Training (for Corporate Use) category!




1-855 787-4487

Mon – Fri  9:00 AM – 6:00 PM EST

120 Interstate N Pkwy E SE #226
Atlanta, GA  30339