If you layer the elements you want to animate in Illustrator and import as a composition you can animate each element separately. If you want to bring the entire timeline as one element the import it as footage.
It sounds like you have your Composition Panel resolution set to full and you are trying to use the space bar to preview moves. If the is so then set the Composition panel resolution to Auto, set the Magnification Factor (far left) to 50% or even 25%, drag the CTI (current time indicator in the timeline) to the next key point and adjust the position of the timeline to match the narration. Just drag things around and set keyframes until you can get things positioned where you want them to be and then run some ram previews of just the parts you are currently working on. You should be able to get the motion and timing down to something that looks good in just a few minutes if you don't keep fiddling with full resolution previews. You can even skip frames in the Preview Panel to speed up this kind of work.
If you can break the animation up into short sequences and make each of those sequences a separate comp your work will also be more efficient.
Give us some more details on your project and include full size screenshots of the entire project with the modified properties of the layers giving you problems revealed. Just select the layer, press the U key twice to show everything you have modified, PrintScreen and paste to the forum. If you are on a Mac it's Shift + Ctrl/Cmnd + 3 and drag the screenshot from the desktop to the forum.
Thank you for your response! I am trying to figure out my best workflow to mimic the animation here: Timeline - Animation - YouTube
How should I set myself up? Dragging the timeline around as one imported image to match talking points in the video I understand. But, how do I zoom in and out all while having the timeline graphic moving slowing to the left? It seems like I need to nest some comps and probably import all the timeline elements as individual layers to animate them, animate paths, etc. I just can't wrap my head around the best workflow to achieve the end result?
Here is a screen shot of the background texture with s still of the presenter:
The timeline graphic will move in behind the speaker, much like the sample video link I included.
Screen shot of the timeline graphic from AI:
This timeline needs to constantly scroll left, zooming into key icons, holding, animating the vertical lines up and down toward the icon he is speaking about, then zoom out, moving to next icon.
I would put everything that moves on a separate layer and import as a composition. It's important to remember that Illustrator artwork imported as a composition must have only one artboard and all of the artwork must be on the artboard. Anything outside the artboard frame will not be imported or will be cropped.
If the presenter's video has already been shot and is longer than a few seconds then I wold try and figure out places to cut the video so you can work in smaller segments.
When I do projects like this I cut up the dialogue or video into pieces that contain one thought or point and create a new composition for each of the points. I recently did a six minute explainer video that was cut up into 28 separate compositions. This sounds like more work but is actually much quicker than trying to animate a single 6 minute or longer project as a single comp.
Depending on the number of layers and the structure of your timeline illustration you may be able group elements and do a relates to layers and then drag the new layers above the original. You may also have to create a really long artboard to hold everything in the timeline.
I hope these suggestions help. There was a recent thread on a similar subject that may provide you with some additional insight. You'll find it here: Import AI or EPS based on Groups, not every element in each group