Little L is the first single release taken from Jamiroquai's fifth album - A Funk Odyssey. The video was filmed in Paris, France. Version 2 of the video was the one originally played on UK television. Both versions are very similar with only minor differences between them.
Boards magazine printed an article about the video in the September 2001 issue:
The tracks' bass-driven disco jam serves as a foundation for the trippy club visuals, which opens with geometric shapes interspliced with disco balls. Red-hued treatment, defocus, lens flares, tracers and refraction add to the video's overall loved up haze. The promo cuts between two environments. One has front man Jay Kay bumping in a female-heavy club as a pimping disco king; occasionally a frozen moment freezes the party people before a handclap punctuated edit kicks the action back into flow. The other, more esoteric environment is a black void anchored by a multi-colored disco floor that plays host to all manner of dance moves and psychedelic effects, including fades, UV beams, duplicate limbs and replicant dancing Jay Kays. Throughout, light streams upwards from floor and dancer.
The video's star comments on working with Anonymous Contents director and famed fashion photographer Sednaoui.
"I hadn't worked with him before, but he seemed like a good choice as he had great reputation," says Kay. "It was a long shoot because of the subject material. I wanted something a little more intimate than that, a bit clubbier, but I like what he's done in post-production. The beams are wicked; it's very black microdot."
After shooting in Paris, Sednaoui and his producer Stephanie Bruni traveled to Santa Monica to work with Method visual effects artists Alex Frisch and Cedric Nicolas and editor Richard Cooperman of Santa Monica's Avenue Edit. Sednaoui says his treatment (which initially included a street sequence) mutated because the record label had exacting ideas about the video for the first single from 2001: A Funk Odyssey.
"Since it was the first single they were a bit tense. Usually I like to work with artists who give me complete trust. I meet them the day before the shoot with ideas and we build to reach a level where there is even more to the video than what I have in my concept," says Sednaoui. "This time I arrived with my idea and whatever I tried to explain didn't seem to reach the team in front of me. I ended up kind of leaving the concept behind and going towards a pop video with a lot of effects and not really any story behind it."
His original idea involved the lit squares on the floor serving as a constantly changing path that a choreographed Jay Kay would follow in a playful way. However, it became clear that the space disco idea was making Kay feel limited in terms of the dance moves available to him. So, Sednaoui says he decided to "shoot, shoot, shoot" and then move on to post.
"I found myself using more effects to create another level of dynamism. I was willing to work with him and I wanted to serve his performance as much as possible," says Sednaoui. "It was non-stop work with post-production. Stephanie Bruni is also my post-production supervisor. She absolved stress and tension and she tried to get all the work done in time with Method. On the other side is Alex Frisch who I have worked with many times. It was a lot of work for them as every shot has an effect."
Although the staggered visuals with layered frames of Jay Kay in mid-dance move were prominent in the video, they were not used as often as Sednaoui had intended.
"The body effect was planned and was major in my treatment but it was hard to have Jay limited by effects. He wants to dance freely. If I asked him to do something because of the post he felt limited," he says. "A lot of effects were thought out after to go around the elements we didn't have. I asked Method to propose effects. They would send me QuickTimes [in Paris] with three propositions, like all the rays of light in the UV scene. They proposed the cubes moving up and down; it's maybe a bit gimmicky but we kept it because it was an interesting effect."
Frisch breaks down the video down into two segments, pointing out that all 255 shots in the video tasted his inferno.
"There were two main ideas: The first was the disco set with Jamiroquai dancing with all of the girls, and the other was where Stephane wanted us to create a light structure around him, vibrating to the music," says Frisch (who is a director in his own right; he recently directed an Energizer campaign for TBWA/Chiat/Day and a Spanish Renault campaign out of Madrid's Tiempo BBDO). "We did the shoot in two days at a sound stage in Paris. We built a big structure covered with aluminum foil, lit in a way that we could see only the very thin pieces of metal covering the back of the set. Then we separated the dancers from that and created this light structure. The second thing we had to work with was the body crossing, all the times he is dancing with himself and there are two or three of him. The middle section was the UV scene, shot with fluorescent makeup on a black background. All of the effects were done on inferno."