Cathy, you had a lot of excellent observations regarding Shmi’s death scene.
I didn’t think I would like it but for the most part I like your use of digital zooms, especially your motivation to zoom out on Anakin, then zoom back in. Also, literally cutting out all sound in the moments following her death, then it slowly returning. This really works for me. I think those are little things that could help give the moment a little extra impact. I would suggest possibly slowing down the zoom in on the tusken guard just slightly, but for the most part I think they work well. Nothing too extreme.
The one thing that doesn’t work for me at all, personally, is the piano rendition of the Imperial march. I just can immediately tell it isn’t really Williams, for one, and I also don’t think it is very appropriate for this moment.
Honestly, if I could make a suggestion, what about reusing Anakin’s theme, since we only hear it once in AOTC? I think the last 30 seconds of Anakin’s Theme track could fit in this moment, since it transitions into something a little darker at the very end, and it clearly reminds us this is just a boy watching his mother die.
Here is the track, starting around the last 30 seconds: https://youtu.be/WUC7MgkOgKA?t=141
You also could possibly slow down the track and pitch it down maybe, if you wanted to try to do something more ominous. Just think it might be a little more appropriate for this stage in Anakin’s life, since this is sort of the moment where Anakin loses his innocence, represented by Anakin’s Theme, in a way.
Also, excellent observation regarding the scene transition, where it appears it originally was meant to be a wipe to Yoda’s chamber. Wow, never really noticed that but I think you’re right. Honestly, I think the hard cut to black works sooo much better than what was there before. It’s a little more intense, to me.
I also wanted to make a note regarding the lightsaber changing colors. It seems like others find the idea interesting so you could totally go for it, you don’t necessarily have to be stuck with what is canon, but the the way lightsaber crystals change color doesn’t necessarily work as you described. It’s not really where the lightsaber will shift depending on one’s amount of hate or anger in the heat of a moment. Rather, bleeding a lightsaber crystal is like an intense ritual that bends a kyber crystal to the will of a Sith, which goes against its natural energy, and thus changes it into a red color. It is possible for a crystal to be purified as well, but that also is a process that takes time and concentration, so a lightsaber won’t just change color like a mood ring in the middle of a battle.
But, like I said, this is your edit and you do whatever you want to try! Overall my biggest suggestion for this would be to change the Imperial march piano rendition.
EDIT: The end of Anakin’s theme does have a hint of the Imperial march still, it’s just a lot more subtle.
DOUBLE EDIT: Listening to Anakin’s theme again, if you notice at the very end of the track, there is a long pause between the last and the second to last note, and the last note plays out for several seconds. It would be interesting if you had the song stop at the second to last note, leaving the motif unfinished, just like Shmi’s last sentence “I love…”
Just an idea though!