Penna needed 1,296 Rubik’s cubes, the perfect Game Boy-era music, several pairs of tireless hands and hours of video editing.
Although the aesthetic quality could be described as 8-bit, the video was built for high-definition screens. The total dimensions of the canvas measures 48 Rubik’s cubes by 27 Rubik’s cubes, or 144 squares by 81 squares, which fits the 16:9 aspect ratio of screen width to screen height.
“We had a hard time making things look 3-D and things look real,” Penna told The Post. “When you have that little resolution, you have such few pixels that you have to get creative with how you animate.”
Penna’s team uses various postproduction software such as Blender and Adobe’s Premier and After Effects to edit the footage.
This isn’t the first time Penna has featured arguably the most frustrating stocking stuffer of all time in his videos. Five years ago, he created a stop-motion video using 25 full-sized cubes.
Penna moved to the United States from Brazil at age 13, and has been creating YouTube videos for almost a decade. He started in 2006, years before the site involved preferred partners and Google dollars.
“Back in 2007, 2008, there really wasn’t a way to make money,” Penna said.
But Penna continued producing videos and eventually the views and subscribers increased. Soon, companies such as McDonald’s and Coca-Cola came calling with advertisement requests.
Today, his YouTube channel has nearly 3 million subscribers and his videos are closing in on 350 million views. In February, Penna released “Beyond,” a short science-fiction film. Now he’s working with CAA to create full-length feature films.
“At first it was very difficult, making about $1,000 a month from YouTube,” Penna said. “Eventually, it became my full-time career.”