I have an Intel 4790 @ 4GHz, 32GB RAM and the software installed on an SSD, running Windows 8.1.
It takes about 30 seconds for the application to open.
Is this normal, or is there something wrong I should be looking for?
It takes about 6 seconds from the moment I click the shortcut, so that does seem like a long time. I'm not sure if it makes a difference on initial startup, but what graphics card do you have?
At the moment none.
Is there a recommendation for one on PC to get good performance from HF?
The first thing HF does is tell me to download and install Quicktime. Is it doing a check for a driver or installation and timing out?
I have no desire to install Quick time, and do not use those file types.
"At the moment none" I highly doubt that, if you had no graphics card you wouldn't see anything :P But I'm guessing you have an integrated graphic chip then. What cpu are you running on? As for recommendations, on this page you can find the minimum requirements, and this thread contains plenty of tips for buying good hardware for HitFilm, from the bare minimum over the sweet spot up to the "I have too much money" category.
About the Quicktime warning, you can disable that in the options screen.
@aarondc Yes, HitFilm will try to find where QuickTime is installed for a while, then time out when it cannot find it, that is probably why your startup takes quite a bit of time.
I would advise you to install QuickTime, it is the easiest solution and if you ever want to import a mov file, it will work straight away. You can find it here: https://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/
In case you don't mind waiting for about 30s every time HitFilm starts, you can untick the "Show QuickTime warning" in File > Options > Warnings.