How to tell a New York story

This post was originally published as “Rihanna and Drake do New York City” on Being There by Jackson Couse.

Watch the first fifteen seconds of the video for Rihanna’s song “what’s my name?” (featuring Drake), and you will see an expert bit of visual storytelling. Immediately, place is set: New York City. Inside ten seconds the rest of story is established. Drake is in a “bodega,” or corner store, when he sees Rihanna enter. With some quick cutting the tension of sexual attraction is set up. The rest of the video unfolds from there:

The interesting thing about this video is that it is set in New York but neither Drake nor Rihanna is a native New Yorker. Rihanna is from Barbados, and Drake is from Canada, but their affair (on the screen, at least) is a New York story: hot, immediate, and fun. That passion is what makes New York a great city. It is the new New Yorkers that give the city its vibrancy, its creativity, and its effervescent type of unexpected beauty.

On a technical note, I would wager that this video was made using a Digital SLR that takes hi-def video. See the shallow depth of field slip in and out of focus when the subjects move?

To see what I mean, watch the video with the sound off the first time. The second time, listen to it with the sound cranked.