LOS ANGELES — Themes of time-shifting and mirror images are central to Edgar Wright’s psychological thriller “Last Night In Soho,” and the visual effects team employs not only cutting-edge digital sleight of hand but also some good old-fashioned in camera tricks to tell the tale of a character whose visions are not always what they seem.

Visual effects supervisor Fabricio Baessa said director Wright wanted to capture as much as possible on set to help keep the fantasy elements grounded in reality.

“That’s the idea, as much as we can do in camera,” Baessa said. “That’s what we had to do because it looks great.”

One of these in camera illusions is a shot of two characters kissing in a mirrored phone booth, which employed identical sets separated by a sliding mirror with the actors synchronizing their movements to their doubles on the other side.

The visual effects team also had to recreate a swinging 1960s London, but for this, complex computer-generated imagery was created, a blend of actual locations and historical references. The Piccadilly Circus sequence is one of Fabricio’s favorite in the film.

“It’s just very, very pretty,” Baessa said. “[There was] a lot of research done to make it work, a lot of measurements to try to replicate it properly. Everything that’s there is very grounded in reality.” 

One sequence that perhaps best shows the seamless merger of in camera work with digital blending is where the protagonist descends from a mirrored staircase which reflects, not her, but a different person.

The two actors were photographed descending the same mirrored stairs separately. Then, the two passes were married digitally, so that one appears on the stairs and the other in the reflection.

It’s the seamless effect that Baessa said he loves because it elevates visual effects into the storytelling process.

“There’s a lot of work we’re doing behind the scenes,” Baessa added. “[Visual effects artists] do a lot of heavy lifting. There’s a lot of creative stuff involved. And, right now, we’re a big part of the creative process. It’s very good to be there.”