Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)

Larry Winston Albright (born 1932) was a neon lighting specialist, who has contributed to two Star Trek live-action productions, helping studio model makers out by providing their productions with internal lighting rigs.

In 1978 he was sub-contracted by Magicam to oversee the installation of the internal lighting rig of the refit-Enterprise studio model and the drydock model for Star Trek: The Motion Picture, when it was decided upon to have that executed as neon lighting. His supervisor, Jim Dow has noted in this respect, "Larry Albright and Paul Turner designed the lighting systems for the ship; Larry, the high voltage neon and Paul, the incandescent. Neon was chosen because of the impracticality of the use of fiber optics, due to the armaturing system (five-way) and its ability to throw a great deal of light without the attendant heat, as with incandescents. It was used wherever there was a light source in an inaccessible area and for longevity. The tiny point sources of incandescents were used where needed." (American Cinematographer, February 1980, pp. 178, 186) Turner was Magicam's model electronics and lighting engineer, and has praised his co-worker, "The neon incidentally, was specially fabricated by Larry Albright who did most of the neon in Spielberg's 1941 and the special effects pylons that were used in Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Most of the special neon that's used in science fiction films has been done by Larry Albright. Excellent man all the way around. You can call him up and say, Gee Larry, I broke a tube and we have to have this thing by tomorrow, and he would bend one up from prior descriptions that you'd given him or you give him new descriptions and he'd bend one up and go through the whole complicated process of making that tube, and you'd could send someone out in a couple of hours and pick up that tube. Larry Albright saved us on a number of occasions." (Enterprise Incidents, issue 13, pp. 23-24) For The Motion Picture, Albright has received an official credit.

Eighteen years later, Albright was shortly re-acquainted with the Star Trek franchise, as Gregory Jein, Inc. sought out his assistance in lighting the retro-models for the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine fifth season homage episode "Trials and Tribble-ations". (The Magic of Tribbles: The Making of Trials and Tribble-ations, pp.37-39) For this production, Albright has remained uncredited.

Career outside Star Trek

A self-taught artist, living in Venice, Ca. whose specialty was the manufacture of sculptures, Larry Albright started out with making sculptures and toys from steel. In the early 1970s he switched to making neon light sculptures and has since then produced neon and plasma light objects both to commercial ends as well as to artistic ends, producing art and display objects. A relatively new technique at the time, with Albright as one of its pioneers, made his expertise with working with neon lighting a sought after commodity for motion picture productions from the mid-1970s onward, as neon lighting became the method of choice for lighting physical studio models. Neon lighting had the advantage over lighting methods and products used up until then of greater longevity and lower heat emissions. He has provided services on the studio models used in productions like Star Wars (1977), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977, supervised by Douglas Trumbull), 1941 (1979, with Greg Jein), Bladerunner (1982, supervised by Trumbull and Richard Yuricich, and working with Mark Stetson and Chris Ross), and Con Air (1997).

Until his retirement, Albright was opertating his business as "Larry Albright & Associates" and "Plasma-Art". Albright has been a mentor and friend to ILM staffer Bill Concannon, who has followed into Albright's steps. [1]

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