Mexican Eco Theme Park Xcaret Invests In 500 ADJ LED Video Panels
Offering a unique mix of stunning natural scenery, exciting activities and cultural displays, Xcaret is one of Mexico’s leading tourist attractions. At the end of 2021, the park’s technical team upgraded a problematic projector-based video system in its main Tlachco Theater with ADJ LED video panels. The new setup not only improved the clarity of the video content shown as part of the venue’s resident production but has also proven to be far more reliable than the previous system, following over a year of continuous use across daily shows.
Opened in 1990, Xcaret is a visitor attraction on the Riviera Maya that celebrates Mexico’s present and rich past, a country known for its traditions, culture and folklore. Located on the coast of the Caribbean Sea, 5km south of Playa del Carmen and 75km south of Cancún, the park showcases an area of exquisite natural beauty. Beneath a jungle canopy are a network of underground rivers and cenotes (flooded sinkholes) as well as ancient Mayan buildings, while on the coast is a beach, lagoon and coral reef. Visitors can explore these captivating surroundings both on land and in the water, while also enjoying a variety of attractions, exhibits and displays.
Each evening, the park hosts a theatrical production called Xcaret México Espectacular, which features more than 250 performers supported by approximately 150 backstage crew. The two-hour presentation takes the audience on a journey through 500 years of Mexican history using drama, song and dance. The venue for the spectacular is the Gran Tlachco Theater, a purpose-built arena-style venue with the capacity to seat an audience of 6000. Although the central theme of the show remains constant, it has developed considerably over the years, including an increase in the use of technology to enhance the storytelling.
“During the remodeling of the theater, about ten years ago, we decided to include video content as part of the show,” explains José Manuel Rodríguez Vázquez, Technical Manager at Xcaret Park. “There was a desire to display introductory text before each act, to give a little context of where it comes from and what is going to be presented. So it was necessary to place a screen in the center of the theater above the stage. Initially, we used projectors because the LED screens available at that time did not meet the expectations of the producers of the show.”
Because of the 360-degree seating in the theater, a system was devised featuring four separate screens, arranged as a cube, which allows audience members to view the video content from all sides of the arena. This assembly was then rigged on a winch system to allow the screens to fly in and take prominence when they are utilized for the show’s storytelling and then lift back up to avoid being a distraction from the main performance space. While the integration of video into the show was a success, the use of projectors in the theater proved to be extremely problematic.
“With the projectors, we had failures and breakdowns very often, sometimes every week,” says Erwin Nava, Head of Video at Xcaret Park. “They really weren’t suited to the weather here, even when we put them in airconditioned boxes. The high temperatures and humidity would cause condensation on the lenses, and this resulted in a blurred image on the canvas screens. Sometimes there was so much condensation that water would drip onto the stage in the middle of the show, which was a serious problem as it caused the dancers to trip.”
“The projector system also involved a lot of waste,” adds José. “We were regularly having to buy new lamps and throw away the old ones. As we are a sustainable company, we don't like to have to throw away things like batteries or lamps.”
In 2021, Jose, Erwin and their team revisited the possibility of using LED video panels for their video needs in the Gran Tlachco Theater. After evaluating a variety of potential solutions, they selected ADJ’s AV4IP panels and placed an order for 500 units. These were used to construct four large rectangular displays to replace the previous canvas screens in the central video cube. This new system provided a significant increase in brightness as well as a host of other benefits.
“Visually, the quality of the image increased,” explains Erwin, “but another advantage we have with the LED screens is that now you can see them perfectly from any point in the venue. This is very different to the canvas screens, if you were located on one of the sides you could not see a well-defined image. Now everyone can see the video content excellently. Our main desire was to increase the experience of the tourists with a better image quality. And we have done it, we have seen people happier. I think the LED screens have helped to raise the public's excitement a little bit.”
The screens are used extensively during the production, for displaying pre-produced video and scene-setting text, as well as for live video feeds of the performers that ensure even those sitting at the back of the auditorium have a great view of the action. Having now been in use for over a year, the ADJ LED screen system has proved to be exceptionally reliable, despite the difficult operating conditions and grueling schedule of daily performances. One of the reasons the AV4IP was chosen is its IP-rated enclosure, since the theater is partially open to the elements and can get very wet inside when the park is subject to heavy downpours of rain. The panels’ IP-rated design means that this does not present an issue to their reliable operation, nor does the humidity or regular high temperatures. However, in the unlikely event of a problem, Xcaret’s technical team know that they can rely on ADJ Mexico for prompt and comprehensive support.
“One of the reasons we chose ADJ over all the other vendors was because of the response time of its Technical Service,” states José. “We present this show every day, so we expect the response from our suppliers to match our needs. In the time we have been using the LED screens, they have proven to be the ideal solution, they have proven to be the best choice we could make. It has been easy to integrate them into the video processing system, and they have been a very good solution. In general, the service we have received has been excellent, from the first contact to the delivery of the gear, it has been impeccable. The whole team that has approached us representing the brand has been the best, they care about us, they know what we want and are more concerned about the result we expect from the equipment than in the sale itself or the amount of money behind a transaction like this. So, thank you very much to ADJ. Hopefully we will continue to be good partners in the future and we will see what comes next!”
Gran Tlachco Theater
Quintana Roo, México
José Manuel Rodríguez Vázquez
Head of Video
500 x ADJ AV4IP