MSNBC to combine real audio, computer animation on McVeigh special

In its coverage of the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, MSNBC will air video that combines actual audio tapes featuring convicted bomber Timohty McVeigh talking to a newspaper reporter accompanied by computer-enhanced video.

The special, “The McVeigh Tapes: Confessions of an American Terrorist,” will be narrated by Rachel Maddow and draws from 45 hours of tape Buffalo News reporter Lou Michel recorded during interviews with McVeigh in prison. What makes this special unique, however, is that computer graphics will be used to alter the appearance of an actor, shown on screen, to look like McVeigh (though a Buffalo News article on the special says the effect doesn’t quite work).

While playing audio tapes over B-roll or eerily turning spools of old-fashioned tape is hardly a new technique for television news, this is an interesting application of using video over audio. It will be interesting to see how the effect works and what, if any, reaction there is to it. Vote on what you think about the idea below.