[Stephen Lewis]"Why is the exported video (left) so different than my record monitor in terms of color, contrast, saturation, etc...???"
Because the Preview and Program monitor in Avid isn't designed to be color accurate. It's only purpose is to show you the footage, so you can see what you are doing. If you want color accuracy, you need an IO device and an HDTV or broadcast monitor.
[Stephen Lewis]"What should I do to export properly?"
Make sure it is rendered out full resolution. Then export SAME AS SOURCE.
[Stephen Lewis]"Why is it so over-saturated and contrasty?"
I need to export for the web so h.264 seems like the most obvious choice. If I export same as source, I can't upload that to the web. (right?)
Can you tell me how I should be configuring the RGB vs 601/709 option? I tried exporting another h.264 QT file, but this time I chose 709 instead of RGB and the color looked very similar to my monitor in Media Composer. Not exactly the same, but much better than before. Why is this happening? It seems like RGB would be favorable for web delivery...
Also, when importing these dslr clps, I used ama then I transcoded to dnxhd 36. Should I have configured MC to apply a certain "color setting" during importing or transcoding?
I didn't run into this issue when I worked in Premiere Pro, so this RGB vs 709 option is new to me.
The answer to this problem is incredibly huge and there is no single simple answer. You've already gotten an answer to your question on the Avid forum. At the risk of repeating things, the first step you can take is to read this white paper... http://www.jobterburg.nl/Publications/601_709_RGB.pdf
I would then undertake a study of how color representation is presented in Rec601/709 specification.
Sorry to be so blunt, but, your question can only be answered by understanding how Avid handles color mapping.